GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) and Intermountain Health Care (IHC; Salt Lake City), an integrated healthcare system, reported the organizations’ first joint project aimed at preventing adverse drug events and increasing patient safety.

GE and IHC will work together on the development of a new advanced electronic medication administration record, also known as an eMAR, which will better enable collaboration among a patient’s care team – anyone who touches the patient and sees to their care.

Physicians, nurses and engineers from GE and IHC will work to create the new eMAR at a joint clinical research center to be based in West Valley, Utah. The clinical information technology (IT) will incorporate hand-held devices and bar-coding technologies, and it will leverage in-depth clinical patient information to automatically validate and document prescribed medications.

“Our goal in working with IHC is to provide clinical IT that will strengthen a care team’s clinical decision support and, ultimately, to enhance patient care,” said Vishal Wanchoo, president and CEO of GE Healthcare Information Technologies. “The new, ‘intelligent’ clinical eMAR we develop, which will strengthen a seamless process of physician ordering, pharmacy dispensing and nurse bed-side administration, is at the core of safe and high-quality patient care.”

According to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ; Rockville, Maryland), adverse drug events result in almost 770,000 injuries and deaths annually in the U.S., and cost the nation’s hospitals up to $5.6 million each per year. The development of computerized monitoring systems such as eMAR can reduce up to 95% of those errors, according to AHRQ.

“The rich clinical data IHC has collected over the years, combined with GE’s clinical IT programs, will enable clinicians to capture and learn from embedded protocols, leading to a significant reduction in medical errors,” Wanchoo said. “This is the first project of our collaboration with IHC, and it will leverage the expertise and knowledge of both organizations, resulting in a new medication system that meets an important, unmet clinical need.”

According to GE and IHC, the new clinical research center, expected to create more than 100 jobs, will provide a central location for researchers to combine IHC’s clinical data with GE’s clinical IT programs.

“Researchers and members of the medical community will work together to create new technologies that improve upon the current system of patient monitoring and enhance patient care by reducing errors that are the result of software that can quantify data, but isn’t smart enough to qualify data,” said Marc Probst, IHC’s chief information officer.

In February, GE and IHC announced a $100 million, 10-year collaboration to enhance the patient care process in hospitals and clinics and accelerate the adoption of electronic health records among health systems in the U.S. (Medical Device Daily, Feb. 18, 2005). In addition, GE is providing its Centricity IT technologies across institutions within IHC’s network, which serve more than 2 million patients. These installations will enable the widespread use of the new electronic pharmaceutical profile software throughout the IHC network, which is made up of 21 hospitals and 92 clinics.

In other grants/contracts news:

Southwest Ambulance (Mesa, Arizona), a subsidiary of Rural/Metro (Scottsdale, Arizona), a provider of medical transportation and private fire protection services, and Cardiac Science (Irvine, California), a manufacturer of life-saving automatic public-access defibrillators (AEDs), reported an exclusive marketing partnership agreement under which Cardiac Science will be the AED provider for Southwest Ambulance.

Under the agreement, the companies will jointly develop a public-access defibrillation program to create awareness about sudden cardiac arrest and stimulate the deployment of AEDs throughout the local communities served by Southwest Ambulance in the southwestern U.S.

Barry Landon, president of Southwest Ambulance, said, “Deploying AEDs in the communities we serve will be an important mandate for our organization in the coming months and years. There is ample data indicating that AEDs in businesses and public places make a significant impact on survival rates when it comes to sudden cardiac arrest. Making sure that the community is aware of these benefits and has access to these devices is an important contribution that we can bring to each community in which we operate.”

Tm Bioscience (Toronto), which focuses on the commercial genetic testing market, said it has signed a five-year agreement to supply custom Tag-It reagents to InterGenetics (Oklahoma City) for OncoVue.

According to InterGenetics, Oncovue has been developed as the first genetic-based Breast Cancer Risk Test relevant to all women. The agreement anticipates InterGenetics will purchase a minimum of $7.5 million in reagents from Tm over the five-year period. The agreement is contingent on Tm delivering Tag-It reagents that perform according to InterGenetics’ specifications.

“InterGenetics has identified and validated a large number of genetic biomarkers linked to breast cancer, and our goal was to develop a clinical test that will help women understand their personal, age-related risk of developing this disease,” said Dr. Craig Shimasaki, president and CEO of InterGenetics. “With a potential market of over 30 million tests, growing at 2 million tests per year in the U.S. alone, we needed to select a production technology which was scalable for very high throughput. Our OncoVue breast cancer risk test was actually designed and developed using the Tag-It universal array platform. With state-of-the-art cGMP manufacturing facilities that can handle anticipated demand, Tm Bioscience proved to be the ideal commercialization partner for our first product.”

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