A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

Spacelabs Medical (Issaquah, Washington), a division of OSI Systems (Hawthorne, California), said it has received a contract for about $6.3 million from the University of Missouri Hospitals & Clinics, Missouri Rehabilitation Center and the Columbia Regional Hospital (all Columbia, Missouri) for advanced patient monitoring and telemetry systems.

The new enterprise-wide patient monitoring and telemetry system is designed to enable clinicians to have instant access to complete, real-time patient and medical data from anywhere in the university healthcare system. The majority of the systems are expected to be delivered by the end of 4Q05.

Spacelabs patient monitoring systems will be installed in operating rooms and post-acute intensive care units, as well as in intensive care units for pediatric, adolescent, cardiac, post-surgical and burn patients and in telemetry areas for cardiovascular monitoring.

The new monitoring system will provide physicians, nurses and other healthcare staff with secure access to patients' vital signs, orders, medication charting, medical records, laboratory reports, test results and other records at bedside or via the Internet.

GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) reported that it has signed a five-year, $1.2 million agreement with Boston Medical Center (Boston), the largest "safety net" hospital in New England. GE will install Centricity Pharmacy, a medication management and clinical decision support tool, at the 547-bed academic medical center in Boston's South End.

The Centricity system provides tools for pharmacy managers, pharmacists and nurses to efficiently distribute medications as prescribed by healthcare professionals, and monitor the use of drugs across the organization, helping to prevent adverse interactions. The Centricity Pharmacy software will also be linked with BMC's Computerized Physician Order Entry System and Medication Administration Record to create a closed-loop medication management solution.

Boston Medical Center is a private, not-for-profit, academic medical center affiliated with Boston University School of Medicine.

GE Healthcare also reported a six-year Centricity PACS SE contract with Norfolk General Hospital (Simcoe, Ontario). The 121-bed hospital is the first site outside of the U.S. to install the PACS SE system, GE said.

With a recent expansion and increase in the volume of diagnostic images, Norfolk General Hospital decided to install PACS to help with the additional work volume, GE said.

BioPhysics Assay Laboratory (BioPAL; Worcester, Massachusetts) reported being awarded a Phase I Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant from the National Center for Research Resources of the National Institutes of Health (Bethesda, Maryland). The amount of the grant was not disclosed.

BioPAL said that the grant will support the development of an automated accelerator-based neutron generation device to detect and quantify the presence of stable isotope-labeled physiological probes in biological samples without interference from the sample matrix. It said that the move beyond genomics and molecular biology to "systems biology" is "the new frontier for discovery of disease pathways that will lead to new therapies."

BioPAL reported that it has made available to researchers for several years stable isotope-labeled physiological probes, such as microspheres for blood flow studies and nanocolloids for cell tracking. "However, in order to measure the probes in biological samples, the samples have to be returned to BioPAL to be assayed via a large, fixed neutron generator."

And it said the new grant will enable it to develop a more compact device installed at the researcher's institution, having the advantages of faster turnaround, lower costs and improved data analysis.

"There is potential for a completely new diagnostic industry built around stable isotope-labeled functional probes because of the new analytical capabilities this technology can provide both researchers and clinicians," BioPAL said.

Christopher Reinhardt, PhD, president and CEO of BioPAL and principal investigator, said that the new device will enable "rapid and simultaneous quantitative measurements of multiple physiological functions in the body. This means that the drug discovery process can be accelerated and made more efficient." It said it will also aid in finding "new therapies, such as the use of stem cells for repairing damage in myocardial infarction or spinal cord injury, in a much more controlled fashion. Cell tracking has become a significant new application for BioPAL's technology."

Over the past five years BioPAL reports that it has received more than $3 million in SBIR grant funding to validate its technology.

Home Diagnostics (San Diego), a manufacturer of diabetes self-testing equipment, and iMetrikus (Carlsbad, California), reported a partnership designed to provide users of the TrueTrack Smart System and Prestige IQ blood glucose monitors with the ability to monitor their diabetes on-line by using MediCompass, a health monitoring software.

Home Diagnostics, manufacturer of the TrueTrack Smart System and Prestige IQ, will promote iMetrikus' MediCompass monitoring system to its customers.

iMetrikus is the developer of the preferred MediCompass web-based software that enables patients to upload their blood glucose test results and other health data.

Teri Sasse, RN, and director of professional marketing for Home Diagnostics, said, "By providing patients with a tool that allows them to analyze blood glucose results and identify patterns, patients are empowered to make informed treatment decisions and take a more active role in monitoring their condition."