Anniversary to SMI
The Strategic Marketplace Initiativeâ€™s (SMIs) 10th Anniversary is being
celebrated this week in Orlando, with over 200 supporters from healthcare
providers, suppliers and supporters allied in the industry.
The Strategic Marketplace Initiative (SMI) is a consortium of executives
united to shape the future of the healthcare supply chain for the purpose of
improving the overall healthcare marketplace in the United States. Through
SMI, members have discovered an open, non-competitive forum for innovative
idea-exchange and the development of collaborative process improvement
initiatives. SMIâ€™s mission is to establish new standards of supply chain
performance for delivering healthcare to patients and their communities
throughout the United States.
The group was conceived by founders; Carl Manley, vice president of
materials management Sentara Healthcare, now retired; Thomas Hughes, former
vice president of BD Healthcare Consulting & Services and the founding
principal of Concepts in Healthcare, named Executive Director; and John Gaida,
senior vice president supply chain management at Texas Health Resources. The
three saw the need to reengineer and advance the future of the healthcare
supply chain. The visionaries were lauded at the 10th annual meeting as
part of the celebration.
Additionally SMI was formed to act as a change agent for healthcare. SMI
provides critical mass representing key industry stakeholders and decision
makers within the healthcare supply chain interacting and sharing best
practices. Through collaboration, tools and techniques are developed that
members can take back to their organizations and customize to meet their
unique needs. As SMI is dedicated to improving the entirety of the
healthcare supply chain, all such tools/findings/improvements/established
best practices are shared free of charge with the healthcare marketplace.
HPNâ€™s August issue for an
exclusive interview with Tom Hughes, Executive Director for SMI.
For more information on SMI visit
Why Chinaâ€™s SARS
legacy may give it an edge against Ebola
During the 2003 SARS outbreak, China lost more than 300 lives and was
berated for delays in cooperating with global health agencies. Lessons from
that epidemic may now give the country an edge should Ebola arrive within
China is Africaâ€™s biggest trading partner, highlighting the risk that the
virus thatâ€™s killed about 5,000 in West Africa could reach the worldâ€™s most
populous nation. The country has been preparing for months, aided by public
health systems that were bolstered after SARS.
As Ebola has reached the U.S. and Europe, China has ordered designated
hospitals to stockpile equipment, disinfectants and protective gear and map
out detailed directions for medical workers. In the southern province of
Guangdong, which receives more than 100 direct flights from Africa each
month, thousands of people are being monitored.
â€śAfter SARS, China doesnâ€™t want to be in the same situation again,â€ť said Ben
Cowling, an associate professor of infectious disease epidemiology at the
University of Hong Kongâ€™s School of Public Health. â€śIn the last 10 years,
theyâ€™ve built up massive capacity to respond to this kind of situation, to
avoid damage to public health and prevent the socio-economic problems that
arise with it.â€ť
In Guangdong, Chinese authorities tracked 8,672 visitors from Ebola-hit
countries in the two months through Oct. 21, a government release said,
without giving details on the screening process. More than 5,000 are no
longer being monitored.
Chinese companies have been drawn to the commodities and mining industries
in West Africa. The official Xinhua news agency, citing government
statistics, in August said there were about 20,000 Chinese workers in Sierra
Leone, Guinea and Liberia, the worst-hit countries.
Guangdong is screening travelers arriving from the three countries, and they
are monitored for 21 days, the incubation period for the virus, according to
China Central Television, the state-controlled broadcaster.
The southern province is home to a sizable population of African migrants,
and more than a thousand people from Africa arrive at the Baiyun Airport in
its capital city of Guangzhou every day, according to state-owned China
Chinaâ€™s health ministry issued its Ebola control plan in July, laying out
procedures for screening, reporting cases and controlling potential
infections, according to China Daily. Calls to the Chinese Center for
Disease Control and the countryâ€™s health ministry werenâ€™t answered.
China has steadily increased its capacity to respond to emerging infectious
pathogens since setting up its CDC in 2002 in response to SARS. Doctors
dispatch more than 16,000 patient case notes daily for vetting by the CDC,
Feng Zijian, an official at the agency, told Bloomberg News last year.
While there have been no reported Ebola cases so far in Asia, Cowling says
the disease could be exported from West Africa to countries such as China
and India. If that happens, infectious-disease experts see risks at the
hospital and local levels despite Chinaâ€™s improved processes.
Chinaâ€™s CDC will need to ensure that administrative measures, such as having
a buddy to ensure proper undressing from protective gear, are followed
tightly, Cowling said.
Also, the possibility of local-level authorities covering up initial cases
canâ€™t be completely eliminated, said Yanzhong Huang, senior fellow for
global health at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York. â€śThereâ€™s a
lack of integration in the system,â€ť he said, and only if a directive comes
from the very top could this be avoided.
Chinaâ€™s density of humans and animals, especially in the southern Pearl
River Delta region, facilitates the exchange of tropical viruses. That gave
rise to the so-called Asian influenza pandemic in 1956 and the H5N1 strain
of avian flu, which isnâ€™t easily transmitted between people, 40 years later.
SARS infected more than 5,000 people in China between November 2002 and July
2003, according to statistics from the World Health Organization. While
Ebola is contracted through direct contact with infected bodily fluids such
as blood or vomit, SARS is a lung disease thatâ€™s spread through the air.
Henk Bekedam, who ran the WHOâ€™s Beijing office from August 2002 to 2007,
recalls calling local officials every day during the SARS epidemic and not
getting straight answers. After several months, Chinaâ€™s communication
improved and it became one of the best countries to work with, he said.
On the treatment front, Chinaâ€™s Sihuan
Pharmaceutical Holdings Group Ltd. (460) announced an agreement this month
with a military institute to develop an anti-Ebola drug. The company is
preparing to apply to Chinese regulators for approval to conduct clinical
trials. The drug is three to five years away from hitting the market if
thereâ€™s no outbreak in China, Sihuan said via e-mail.
Visit Bloomberg for the article.
hospitals in spotlight
The experience of a nurse who complained about her quarantine in a makeshift
tent inside a Newark, NJ, hospital after treating Ebola patients in Sierra
Leone is putting a focus on how the stateâ€™s hospitals will handle those
exposed to the disease.
New Jersey officials said they are ready to quarantine and treat medical
workers returning from West Africa. At the same time, a senior health
official in the administration of Gov. Chris Christie said that while the
tent quarantine of nurse Kaci Hickox at University Hospital in Newark wasnâ€™t
ideal, the state needed a separate environment in a busy city hospital to
Two other New Jersey hospitals that have been designated to receive Ebola
patients said they intend to quarantine any patients in dedicated
â€śPeople will be as comfortable as they can be under those circumstances,â€ť
said Robert C. Garrett, chief executive of Hackensack University Health
Network, which along with University Hospital and Robert Wood Johnson
University Hospital in New Brunswick has been designated by the state to
received Ebola patients.
Hickox, who volunteered for Doctors Without Borders, wrote about her
hospital confinement in the Dallas Morning News, calling it â€śinhumane,â€ť and
complained about it on CNN. The tent had a portable toilet but lacked a
shower. One of Hickoxâ€™s lawyers, Steven Hyman, said the tent was set up in a
large room with a concrete floor and that she was fed through a plastic
window. â€śIt seems to me a tent is not the best isolation chamber one could
think of,â€ť Hyman said.
Hickox was allowed to return home to Maine on Monday.
Some contrasted Hickoxâ€™s experience with that of Ebola patient Craig
Spencer, a doctor who volunteered in West Africa. He is being treated at New
York Cityâ€™s Bellevue Medical Center in an isolation ward built to handle the
AIDS crisis, with ventilation and plumbing separate from the rest of the
hospital. Rooms employ special ventilation systems that allow air in but
donâ€™t let contaminated air out.
Some healthcare providers said they couldnâ€™t remember an instance where a
patient in the U.S. was quarantined in a tent, particularly when he or she
wasnâ€™t showing acute symptoms. Hickox tested negative Saturday morning for
Ebola. State officials said the nurse had a fever, though she disputed that.
New Jersey said it would work to quarantine people at home when possible.
A spokeswoman for University Hospital said officials with the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention recently toured the unit and consulted on it.
Best practices for housing someone showing signs of infection at a hospital
include a dedicated unit that is stripped of linen, has designated equipment
and attendants wearing protection suits, said Albert Wu, a professor of
health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public
Health. Dr. Wu said the conditions of Hickoxâ€™s quarantine appeared to be
spartan but not inhumane.
Officials at Hackensack University Medical
Center said their hospital built a dedicated facility in 2012 for housing
those needing to be quarantined. The unit has a separate entrance, private
bathroom with a standard toilet and shower, a television and Internet
access, officials said.
Visit the Wall Street Journal for the story.
unveils top 10 medical innovations for 2015
Cleveland Clinic announced its 9th annual list of Top 10 Medical Innovations
that are likely to have major impact on improving patient care in 2015. The
list includes a mobile stroke ambulance, fast, painless blood-testing, and a
novel intra-operative radiation approach for breast cancer.
The list of up-and-coming technologies and drug therapies was selected by a
panel of 110 Cleveland Clinic physicians and scientists and announced during
Cleveland Clinicâ€™s 2014 Medical Innovation Summit.
The Top 10 Medical Innovations for 2015 are:
1. Mobile Stroke Unit - Time lost is brain lost. High-tech ambulances bring
the emergency department straight to the patient with stroke symptoms. Using
telemedicine, in-hospital stroke neurologists interpret symptoms via
broadband video link, while an onboard paramedic, critical care nurse and CT
technologist perform neurological evaluation and administer t-PA after
stroke detection, providing faster, effective treatment for the affected
2. Dengue Fever Vaccine - One mosquito bite is all it takes. More than 50 to
100 million people in more than 100 countries contract the dengue virus each
year. The worldâ€™s first vaccine has been developed and tested, and is
expected to be submitted to regulatory groups in 2015, with
commercialization expected later that year.
3. Cost-effective, Fast, Painless Blood-Testing - Have the days of needles
and vials come to an end? The new art of blood collection uses a drop of
blood drawn from the fingertip in a virtually painless procedure. Test
results are available within hours of the original draw and are estimated to
cost as little as 10% of the traditional Medicare reimbursement.
4. PCSK9 Inhibitors for Cholesterol Reduction - Effective statin medications
have been used to reduce cholesterol in heart disease patients for over two
decades, but some people are intolerant and cannot benefit from them.
Several PCSK9 inhibitors, or injectable cholesterol lowering drugs, are in
development for those who donâ€™t benefit from statins. The FDA is expected to
approve the first PCSK9 in 2015 for its ability to significantly lower LDL
cholesterol to levels never seen before.
5. Antibody-Drug Conjugates - Chemotherapy, the only form of treatment
available for treating some cancers, destroys cancer cells and harms healthy
cells at the same time. A promising new approach for advanced cancer
selectively delivers cytotoxic agents to tumor cells while avoiding normal,
6. Checkpoint Inhibitors - Cancer kills approximately 8 million people
annually and is difficult to treat, let alone cure. Immune checkpoint
inhibitors have allowed physicians to make significantly more progress
against advanced cancer than theyâ€™ve achieved in decades. Combined with
traditional chemotherapy and radiation treatment, the novel drugs boost the
immune system and offer significant, long-term cancer remissions for
patients with metastatic melanoma, and there is increasing evidence that
they can work on other types of malignancies.
7. Leadless Cardiac Pacemaker - Since 1958, the technology involved in
cardiac pacemakers hasnâ€™t changed much. A silver-dollar-sized pulse
generator and a thin wire, or lead, inserted through the vein kept the heart
beating at a steady pace. Leads, though, can break and crack, and become
infection sites in 2 percent of cases. Vitamin-sized wireless cardiac
pacemakers can be implanted directly in the heart without surgery and
eliminate malfunction complications and restriction on daily physical
8. New Drugs for Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis - Nearly 80,000 American
adults with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis may breathe easier in 2015 with
the recent FDA-approval of two new experimental drugs. Pirfenidone and
nintedanib slow the disease progress of the lethal lung disease, which
causes scarring of the air sacs. Prior to these developments, there was no
known treatment for IPF, in which life expectancy after diagnosis is just
three to five years.
9. Single-Dose Intra-Operative Radiation Therapy for Breast Cancer - Finding
and treating breast cancer in its earliest stages can oftentimes lead to a
cure. For most women with early-stage breast cancer, a lumpectomy is
performed, followed by weeks of radiation therapy to reduce the likelihood
of recurrence. Intra-operative radiation therapy, or IORT, focuses the
radiation on the tumor during surgery as a single-dose, and has proven
effective as whole breast radiation.
10. New Drug for Heart Failure - Angiotensin-receptor neprilysin inhibitor,
or ARNI, has been granted â€śfast-track statusâ€ť by the FDA because of its
impressive survival advantage over the ACE inhibitor enalapril, the current
â€śgold standardâ€ť for treating patients with heart failure. The unique drug
compound represents a paradigm shift in heart failure therapy.
Visit Cleveland Clinic for the release.
New York surgical
mask manufacturer responds to PPE recommendations, healthcare worker
The CDC recently revised their Personal
Protective Equipment (PPE) recommendations for healthcare workers caring for
Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) patients to include the use of N95 or PAPR
respirators and full coverage of all exposed skin. Emory Healthcare, a
targeted treatment facility for EVD patients, also released their
Healthcare Ebola Preparedness Protocols draft document.
While the CDC recommendations are specific only to direct patient care of
diagnosed EVD patients and exclude the use of medical face masks in this
specific scenario, Emory's recommendations involve a broader set of EVD
scenarios (Appendix 5; a "PPE Guidance Matrix for EVD"), and specifically
recommends the use of face masks in every situation, except during the care
of a diagnosed, symptomatic EVD patient.
Crosstex International, Inc., a subsidiary of Cantel Medical Corp., a U.S.
manufacturer of earloop face masks and other infection prevention control
products, has seen increased demand for its SECURE FIT fitted face masks as
a result of heightened concern over the ability of PPE, including surgical
masks, to provide full coverage and protection.
Face masks are a form of PPE and are FDA-cleared medical devices that are
classified according to their filtration and fluid barrier properties. They
are designed and FDA-cleared to prevent large particle (droplet)
transmission of infection, from the wearer to others, and from others to the
wearer, such as from coughs and sneezes. Their ability to fit the wearer,
however, is not a formal requirement.
Lisa Brosseau, Director of the Industrial Hygiene program at the University
of Illinois at Chicago's School of Public Health, and committee member of
the 2007 Institutes of Medicine panel on reusability of facemasks during an
influenza pandemic, stated in a 2003 letter to the FDA: "Drawing from my
experience with respirators, I believe surgical mask failure is due in large
part, or entirely, to their lack of fit," and added, "The criteria used by
FDA to evaluate surgical masks neglect entirely the issue of fit."
Cantel sponsored published in vitro (laboratory) research to better
understand the factors that contribute to mask performance, and mask fit was
found to be a critical factor in particle capture. SECURE FIT fitted masks
enable the wearer to adjust the mask to the face and avoid the typical
gapping around the sides and bottom of the mask that are seen with most
loose-fitting surgical masks.
Crosstex is offering free trial supplies of
SECURE FIT masks to any concerned healthcare provider or institution. Visit
www.crosstex.com for further mask
education and research, and to order free samples of SECURE FIT masks.
U.S. Patent, positioned as a visionary in Gartner's Magic quadrant for
warehouse management systems
TECSYS Inc., announced that it has been granted Patent No. 8,839,132 from
the United States Patent and Trademark Office that covers the method and
system for providing visual instructions to warehouse operators. This
technology empowers users to become significantly more efficient and
accurate at executing their task, while at the same time helping drive
increased responsiveness to their customers.
"Providing users visual and graphical instructions is an integral part of
our WMS, a capability that requires no programming and represents a paradigm
shift in warehouse management solutions to customers. Workers are able to
access critical information to make decisions more quickly, accelerating
their workflows, enabling improved customer satisfaction and profitability.
This technology has been on the market for nearly four years and its
benefits have already been proven. In both healthcare operations and in
complex high-volume distribution environments this technology is enabling
workers to perform more complex tasks, faster, with more precision and less
mental fatigue," stated Larry Lumsden, Vice President, Products at TECSYS.
On September 30th, 2014, Gartner, the world's leading information technology
research and advisory company, published its Magic Quadrant for Warehouse
Management Systems. For the fourth consecutive year, TECSYS has been
positioned in the "Visionaries" quadrant of the Warehouse Management Systems
Magic Quadrant Report. According to Gartner, "To be a Visionary, a vendor
must have a coherent, compelling and innovative strategy that seeks to
deliver a robust and vibrant offering to the market. Visionaries are often
thought leaders in one or more WMS solution dimensions (for example,
functionality, services, go-to-market or deployment strategies), and they
tend to be on the leading edge of some emerging concepts."
Visit TECSYS for more information.
publishes Ebola preparedness manual to assist other healthcare providers,
local governments in preparedness efforts
As a public service, the North Shore-LIJ Health System announced the
publication of an Ebola Virus Disease Preparedness Manual for healthcare
organizations and local governments across the US to aid in preparedness
efforts and shed light on key clinical and operational best practices that
can prevent the virus from spreading.
This detailed resource guide - available as a
free download at
www.nslijalerts.com--covers a range
of topics, including: Emergency management structure; Clinical guidelines;
Policies and procedures; Staff education and training; Communication
(internal and external); Internal evaluation tools; and External resources.
For more information, go to
developing cancer and heart attack detector
Google is aiming to diagnose cancers, impending heart attacks or strokes and
other diseases, at a much earlier stage than is currently possible. The
company is working on technology that combines disease-detecting
nanoparticles, which would enter a patient's bloodstream via a swallowed
pill, with a wrist-worn sensor.
The idea is to identify slight changes in the person's biochemistry that
could act as an early warning system. The work is still at an early stage.
Early diagnosis is the key to treating disease. Many cancers, such as
pancreatic, are detected only after they have become untreatable and fatal.
There are marked differences between cancerous and healthy tissues.
Google's ambition is to constantly monitor the blood for the unique traces
of cancer, allowing diagnosis long before any physical symptoms appear. The
project is being conducted by the search company's research unit, Google X,
which is dedicated to investigating potentially revolutionary innovations.
It marks the firm's latest shift into the medical sector following its work
on glucose-measuring contact lenses for patients with diabetes and the
acquisition of a start-up that developed a spoon to counteract the tremors
caused by Parkinson's disease.
Google has also bought stakes in Calico, an anti-aging research company, and
23andMe, which offers personal genetic-testing kits. The diagnostic project
is being led by Dr. Andrew Conrad, a molecular biologist who previously
developed a cheap HIV test that has become widely used.
Google is designing a suite of nanoparticles which are intended to match
markers for different conditions. They could be tailored to stick to a
cancerous cell or a fragment of cancerous DNA. Or they could find evidence
of fatty plaques about to break free from the lining of blood vessels. These
can cause a heart attack or stroke if they stop the flow of blood. Another
set would constantly monitor chemicals in the blood.
High levels of potassium are linked to kidney disease. Google believes it
will be possible to construct porous nanoparticles that alter color as
potassium passes through. Unattached nanoparticles would move differently in
a magnetic field from those clumped around a cancer cell. In theory,
software could then provide a diagnosis by studying their movements.
As part of the project, the researchers have
also explored ways of using magnetism to concentrate the nanoparticles
temporarily in a single area. The tech company's ambition is ultimately to
create a wristband that would take readings of the nanoparticles via light
and radio waves one or more times a day.
Visit BBC for the report.