A Medical Device Daily

Smith & Nephew Endoscopy (Andover, Massachusetts) reported that it has been awarded a sole-source, three- year contract from Kaiser Permanente (Oakland, California) as the developer and supplier of digital operating rooms (Digital OR) to its hospitals nationwide.

“The Digital OR is based around the integration and optimization of technology within the surgical environment,” said Jim Taylor, president, Smith & Nephew Endoscopy. “These custom operating suites can provide surgeons and other medical professionals with optimum control of the operating room equipment and overall operative environment and provide patients with access to specialized medical care.”

An important part of this contract, the company said, is the development and installation of an array of emerging technology options tailored to each facility’s needs and specialties, including:

  • Digital networking capabilities that enable access to patient information at the touch of a button.
  • A/V capabilities to stream real-time audio and video from the operating room to a classroom or a specialist’s office, for improved efficiency, education and consultation opportunities.

In other contract news:

Diagnostics firm bioMerieux (Durham, North Carolina) said it has secured a five-year contract with MDS Diagnostic Services, the largest provider of laboratory testing services in Canada and a unit of MDS (Toronto). bioMerieux will supply its Vitek 2 automated bacteriology identification and susceptibility testing (ID/AST) system to eight MDS laboratories in British Columbia and Ontario.

“We serve patients directly through our own community medical laboratories and the hospital labs we manage, which combined, provide more than 50 million clinical tests every year,” said Dr. Brian Sheridan, senior vice president of medical affairs, MDS Diagnostic Services. “After evaluating several providers, we selected the Vitek 2 because of its ability to manage, with accuracy and speed, the large volumes of diagnostic tests processed for physicians and patients in our labs every day.”

Vitek 2 provides rapid results processing (a two- to six- hour average turnaround), which enables MDS Diagnostic Services to provide timely and accurate test results to the more than 21,000 healthcare providers and 17 million patients it serves annually. “We were willing to invest in a fully automated system to support our goal of delivering the highest quality service to our customers,” Sheridan said.

The Vitek 2 is a fully automated bacterial identification and antibiotic susceptibility testing system. It also includes an advanced software system that then interprets the identified bacteria’s antibiotic resistance patterns. Additionally, bioMerieux has designed a 64-well susceptibility card specifically for MDS to further enhance productivity on its Vitek 2 instruments.

The Vitek 2 offers random or batch processing, rapid results and a quality control module. The system is used for bacterial and yeast identification, antimicrobial susceptibility testing and urine screening and features an Advanced Expert System (AES) and Observa, complete data management system. The Vitek 2 already has been implemented in two labs in British Columbia, and implementation in MDS’ Ontario labs will begin this summer.

• Cardinal Health (Dublin, Ohio), a provider of healthcare products and services, said it has signed an agreement extension to offer its Alaris products to health systems served by Amerinet (St. Louis) through February 2009. The agreement is the first to offer additional savings for health systems that also adopt Cardinal Health’s Pyxis products.

The agreement is sole-source for the Alaris System in the smart system safety technology category and dual- source for the Alaris SE Channel Pump and Guardrails Suite of safety software in the smart pump technology category.

The Alaris System with the Guardrails Suite of safety software has demonstrated measurable improvements in patient safety and clinical performance in managing IV medications at the point of care, the company said. The system is the first and only of its kind to offer an integrated modular platform that has the ability to include infusion therapy and patient monitoring for enhanced patient safety at the bedside.

Pyxis’ MedSystem provides communication and workflow-optimization tools to help reduce chances of medication-dispensing errors and enhance collaboration between nurses and pharmacists.

• Inverness Medical Innovations (Waltham, Massachusetts), a manufacturer and marketer of rapid diagnostic products for the consumer and professional markets, said that its subsidiary, Wampole Laboratories (Princeton, New Jersey), has signed an agreement with ThyroTec to serve as the exclusive North American distributor of ThyroTest, a rapid immunoassay screen for hypothyroidism.

ThyroTest is a two-step lateral flow immunoassay that relies on Inverness’ patented technology to obtain a qualitative determination of human thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) in whole blood. ThyroTest is the first rapid-format TSH test to receive FDA clearance and CLIA waiver.

TSH tests are now the fifth most widely performed assay in U.S. clinical laboratories and it is reported that more Americans suffer from thyroid disease than diabetes and cancer combined. According to the Colorado Thyroid Disease Prevalence Study, 13 million Americans have undiagnosed thyroid disorders and one out of every eight women will develop thyroid disease.

“The potential U.S. market for rapid TSH tests should grow to over $30 million annually over the next several years, so we are excited to carry ThyroTest, the first such test on the market,” said John Bridgen, president of Wam-pole Laboratories.

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (Baltimore) provide reimbursement for the rapid TSH test at about $24 per test.