A Diagnostics & Imaging Week

GE Healthcare (Waukesha, Wisconsin) has signed an exclusive agreement with IntraMedical Imaging (Los Angeles), a developer of molecular imaging detectors and cameras, to provide advanced tools for surgeons to localize tumors and lymph nodes during cancer surgery. The announcement was made at the Society of Surgical Oncology's 58th Cancer Symposium in Atlanta.

The new product line consists of a universal control unit, called Node Seeker, and a dedicated set of detection probes. Surgical oncologists use these specialized radiation detection probes to identify sentinel lymph nodes, presently a standard-of-care technique for staging breast cancer and melanoma.

According to the agreement, GE will be the exclusive U.S. distributor of Node Seeker, developed by IntraMedical Imaging.

"Our new relationship with IntraMedical Imaging will enable us to help clinicians more accurately detect and stage cancer and, in turn, improve patient outcomes," said Lewis Dudley, leader of the surgery unit at GE Healthcare. "With this new guidance tool, the surgical oncologist will have more information during surgery."

The Node Seeker gamma probe is a tool used to determine whether the cancer has spread beyond the primary tumor by identifying affected sentinel nodes in the nearby lymph node basin. During surgery, these nodes are removed and taken to pathology to determine if the cancer has metastasized in the lymph nodes. This technique frequently precludes the complications associated with more radical surgical procedures.

GE Healthcare also will be the exclusive distributor of IntraMedical Imaging's PET-Probe. Those radiation detection probes utilize the power of PET (positron emission tomography) in surgery. With this scan guidance, surgeons can more precisely identify and excise the lesion as well as surgical margins for small amounts of remaining tumor, the company said.

Image Management Systems and Support (IMSS; Fort Lauderdale, Florida), a company specializing in medical imaging systems integration, has awarded AT&T a three-year contract to provide a secure networking solution. The agreement expands an existing relationship with AT&T for voice and data services. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

IMSS provides subscribing healthcare institutions including hospitals, laboratories and physicians a secure online environment in which to store and share digital medical images and reports. Storing documents with IMSS is designed to enhance and expand medical experts' abilities to consult on diagnoses or recommended treatments, regardless of location or time of day.

AT&T will deploy an Internet Protocol Virtual Private Network and host the IMSS web servers in its Arizona Internet Data Center (IDC), ensuring around-the-clock access to data stored there and providing business continuity capabilities. AT&T owns and operates 26 IDCs around the world.

IMSS has been serving healthcare institutions primarily in the southeastern U.S. since 1999. The company is finalizing plans for facilities in Shanghai, China.

In other grants/contracts news:

CyberGuard (Boca Raton, Florida), a global provider of security solutions that protect the critical components of the largest and most complex information networks for Global 2000 enterprises and government organizations, said that Toshiba America Medical Systems (TAMS; Tustin, California), a national provider of medical imaging equipment and services, has selected CyberGuard to upgrade their existing security system for secure access to scanners and medical diagnostic imaging equipment located within HIPAA-sensitive networks.

The VPN concentrator is based upon existing Cyber-Guard SG710 hardware and can handle up to 1,000 simultaneous VPN tunnels to securely network this leader in medical imaging with its customer hospitals and imaging centers throughout the country. It has been further customized to provide extended authentication, which affords tighter control over access to sensitive data.

"HMOs, hospitals and doctors are working diligently to deliver the best care available in an increasingly competitive and cost-sensitive environment," said Tim Peeler, director, services technical operations, Toshiba America Medical Systems.

"In addition to competitive pressures, new HIPAA regulations require more accountability and tighter control over access to equipment used for patient diagnostic imaging. CyberGuard's ability to integrate with our existing security and authentication structure, as well as versatility of implementation made them the obvious choice for our remote-access installation."

PainCare (Orlando, Florida) said that Moore Family Medical (Murfreesboro, Tennessee) a family practice serving residents of Cannon, Coffee, Rutherford and Warren counties in Tennessee, has signed an agreement with PainCare to deploy its EDX-Direct Program at the practice.

Administering more than 7,000 patient visits per year, Moore Family Medical has been serving the healthcare needs of area families since 2003. The practice, founded by Timothy and Debbie Moore, is staffed by three nurse practitioners and a supervising physician.

Remarking on the decision to add PainCare's EDX-Direct Program to the practice's service offerings, Tim Moore noted, "Expanding our diagnostic capabilities is sure to greatly enhance the underpinning value that Moore Family Medical offers our patients. With the help of EDX-Direct, we will now have the ability to detect and evaluate damage to the peripheral nervous system and subsequently determine the best treatment protocol to proactively address prevailing pain issues and relieve discomfort."

Marketed by PainCare as EDX-Direct, the program provides for PainCare to supply contracted physician practices with all equipment, technical training and support necessary to introduce electro-diagnostic medicine into their respective practice care offerings.

Physicians in the contracted EDX-Direct program supply the necessary office space and manage all medical billing and collection activity.