Inside the March Issue

Click the cover above for the online edition, or click below
 for the digital flip book.


March Cover Story

Value analysis is instrumental
2015 Surgical Instruments Guide

Self Study Series
White Papers
Special Reports
Purchasing Connection
Show Calendar
HPN Hall of Fame
HPN Buyers Guides
HPN ProductLink
Issue Archives
About Us
Contact Us

Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Email Newsletter

For Email Marketing you can trust
KSR Publishing, Inc.
Copyright 2015
 This site is monitored by

         Clinical intelligence for supply chain leadership



Search our website

March 3, 2015   Download print version

6 Future Famers saluted by Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership for inaugural class

Cardinal Health to buy J&J’s Cordis Unit for $1.94 billion

Survey: Parents increasingly ask doctors to delay vaccines

Texas nurse who contracted Ebola to sue hospital chain

Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at Louisiana lab

New study shows inevitability of leukemia mutations

Nearly halted in Sierra Leone, Ebola makes comeback by sea

WHO warns of pandemics worse than 2009 Swine Flu outbreak


Daily Update Archives




Self Study Series:
March 2015

Common pitfalls in flexible endoscope processing

Sponsored by

6 Future Famers saluted by Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership for inaugural class

Bellwether League Inc., the Hall of Fame for Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership, recognized six professionals for their contributions to supply chain operational excellence so early in their respective careers.

Joining the inaugural Future Famers Class of 2015 are six individuals who have made great strides in the healthcare supply chain during the first decade of their employment:

·         William Barrette, Assistant Vice President, Supply Chain Finance & Strategy, Ochsner Health System, New Orleans

·         Justin Freed, Director, Supply Chain Management, Loma Linda (CA) Medical Center

·         Jason Hays, Regional Director, Supply Chain, Mercy Health, St. Rita’s Medical Center, Lima, OH

·         Nathaniel Mickish, Senior Director, Non-acute Supply Chain, Texas Health Resources, Arlington, TX

·         Eric Tritch, Director, Strategic Sourcing, University of Chicago Medicine

·         Donna VanVlerah, Vice President, Supply Chain, Parkview Health, Fort Wayne, IN

“We developed the Future Famers recognition program so that those professionals new to a career in healthcare supply chain could be highlighted for innovations they are implementing as well as those achieving success with large scale, complex projects within their organizations,” said Mary Starr, Bellwether League Inc. Treasurer and Marketing Committee Chair. “We believe that this recognition will not only inspire other young professionals in the field, but also provide a way to communicate new processes being used in provider organizations.”

Bellwether League Inc. announced the new “Future Famers” recognition program at its 7th Annual Bellwether Induction Dinner event last October.

“The Future Famers recognition award is Bellwether League’s way of acknowledging individuals early in their career who have made significant strides to improve their organizations, themselves or even their profession,” said John Gaida, Chairman, Bellwether League Inc. Board of Directors. “Our job at BLI is to shine a light on supply chain achievement – the Bellwether who has done so much over his or her career to advance the profession, and now the Future Famer who has huge potential to someday become a Bellwether. We on the Board of BLI feel this complementary recognition fits nicely with our mission. We are proud of this new Future Famers Class of 2015 and encourage many more applicants to come forward in the years ahead.”

Visit Bellwether for the full release.



Cardinal Health to buy J&J’s Cordis Unit for $1.94 billion

Cardinal Health Inc. agreed to buy Johnson & Johnson’s Cordis business for $1.94 billion in cash, gaining a global manufacturer of cardiology and endovascular devices. The acquisition will be financed with a combination of $1 billion in new senior unsecured notes and existing cash, Dublin, OH-based Cardinal Health said in a statement. The transaction is expected to close in the U.S. toward the end of calendar 2015.

Based in Fremont, CA, Cordis had annual sales of approximately $780 million last year, split almost evenly between cardiology and endovascular products. About 70 percent of Cordis’s sales come from outside the U.S., in more than 50 countries, including China, Germany, Italy and the U.K.

Visit Bloomberg for the announcement.



Survey: Parents increasingly ask doctors to delay vaccines

Parents have increasingly pressured doctors to delay vaccines for young children, making their kids and others vulnerable to preventable diseases, a study suggests. The findings are in a national survey of pediatricians and family doctors asked about parents wanting to postpone some of the many shots recommended for children younger than age 2. Nearly all doctors said that at least some parents had requested vaccine delays in a typical month; and 1 in 4 said those numbers had increased since the previous year.

The researchers surveyed 534 doctors by email or regular mail in 2012. Participants were doctors who are members of the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Academy of Family Physicians — the two leading groups of doctors who treat young children. One in 5 doctors said at least 10 percent of parents had requested vaccine delays by spreading them out over more months than is recommended.

Most doctors said the practice puts kids at risk for getting vaccine-preventable diseases and might lead to disease outbreaks, but most also said they at least sometimes agreed to the delays. Only 3 percent said they often or always tell parents who insist on vaccine delays to seek care from another doctor.

Doctors are concerned about unvaccinated or under-vaccinated children becoming ill and spreading disease to others. Vaccinations against 14 diseases are recommended for children younger than 2, starting at birth and given every few months. Some shots combine vaccines against more than one disease; the measles shot also protects against mumps and German measles. Even so, young children may get five shots at once under the recommended vaccine schedule.

Some parents want to delay shots by spacing them out, partly to spare their kids from getting jabbed so many times at one sitting. Doctors surveyed said other reasons include worries about possible long-term complications and other risks from vaccines, which medical experts say are unfounded. The study didn't ask doctors which vaccines parents asked to delay.

The recommended vaccine schedules are based on research on timing shots to be most effective at preventing disease. Delaying shots meant to be given at a certain age means they may be less effective. It also makes it more likely that children will never get vaccinated, because parents get too busy or forget to schedule another doctor's visit, said Dr. Robert Frenck, an infectious diseases specialist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center. He was not involved in the new study. (Associated Press) Visit Yahoo for the survey.



Texas nurse who contracted Ebola to sue hospital chain

She was the first person to ever contract Ebola in the United States, and now she's going to sue the hospital where she got infected. Nina Pham, a nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas, will file a lawsuit Monday against the hospital's parent company Texas Health Resources, her lawyer told CNN affiliate KTVT.

According to the suit, the hospital chain failed to provide proper equipment and training to handle Ebola. Pham contracted the disease last fall while treating Thomas Eric Duncan, who started showing symptoms after arriving in Dallas from Liberia. Pham's lawsuit also claims Texas Health Resources violated her privacy by sharing her medical records, KTVT said.

According to The Dallas Morning News, Pham wants unspecified damages for physical pain, mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of future earnings. But she told the newspaper that she wants to "make hospitals and big corporations realize that nurses and health care workers, especially frontline people, are important. And we don't want nurses to start turning into patients."

Texas Health Resources spokesman Wendell Watson issued a statement in response to the lawsuit: "Nina Pham bravely served Texas Health Dallas during a most difficult time. We continue to support and wish the best for her, and we remain optimistic that constructive dialogue can resolve this matter."

Another nurse treating Duncan, Amber Vinson, also contracted Ebola. Both nurses recovered after being sent to hospitals specially equipped and trained to handle Ebola -- Pham at the National Institutes of Health in Maryland, and Vinson at Emory University Hospital in Atlanta.

Pham is still employed and is getting a paycheck from Texas Health Resources, but has not returned to work, KTVT said. She is still suffering fatigue and body aches, but her lawyer told the affiliate it's not clear whether the ailments are from having Ebola or from the experimental drugs Pham received. Visit CNN for the story.



Deadly bacteria release sparks concern at Louisiana lab

Officials are investigating how a deadly type of bacteria was released from a high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Center in Louisiana. Officials say there is no risk to the public. A dangerous, often deadly, type of bacteria that lives in soil and water has been released from a high-security laboratory at the Tulane National Primate Research Center in Louisiana. Officials say there is no risk to the public. Yet despite weeks of investigation by multiple federal and state agencies, the cause of the release and the extent of the contamination remain unknown, according to interviews and records obtained by USA TODAY.

The incident has raised concerns that bacteria from the lab may have contaminated the facility's grounds and though initial, limited tests didn't detect it, some officials are pressing behind the scenes for more action, records show. The safety breach at Tulane's massive lab complex 35 miles north of New Orleans is the latest in a recent series of significant biosafety accidents at some of the most prestigious laboratories in the country where research is performed on bacteria and viruses that are classified as potential bioterror agents.

The Tulane incident involves the release, possibly in November or earlier, of a bacterium called Burkholderia pseudomallei, which is primarily found in Southeast Asia and northern Australia and is spread to humans and animals through direct contact with contaminated soil and water where it can live and grow. Tulane's research, which has been halted by federal officials, was part of an effort to develop a vaccine against the bacteria. It was conducted mostly with rodents inside a secure biosafety level 3 laboratory with multiple layers of safety equipment that were supposed to ensure the pathogen couldn't get out.

Yet at least four monkey-like rhesus macaques — that were never used in the experiments and were kept in large outdoor cages in another part of the 500-acre facility — have been exposed to the bacteria, initial tests have found. Two of the macaques became ill in November; both eventually had to be euthanized. Meanwhile, a federal investigator, who became ill 24 hours after visiting the facility in January as part of the ongoing release investigation, has also tested positive for exposure to the bacteria — though it remains unclear whether her exposure may have occurred during international travel and not at the lab.

Andrew Lackner, director of the Tulane primate center, said the investigation so far indicates that the four macaques were exposed to the bacteria while being cared for in the complex's veterinary hospital and he emphasized that tests of 39 soil and 13 water samples from the center's grounds have not detected the presence of the bacteria.

Studies reviewed by USA TODAY indicate too few samples were taken to detect what can be an elusive bacterium. The Louisiana Governor's Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness, which is leading the joint federal-state response, expressed concerns about "whether the organism has escaped the compound and whether livestock and domestic animals are at risk," in a Feb. 20 letter from the state to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The letter formally asked the EPA for help addressing potential soil contamination where sick macaques were housed, including with testing and assistance "to perform soil remediation in area(s) identified as high-risk as soon as possible to prevent further transmission/transference."

Officials at state and federal agencies responded to some questions via e-mail but did not grant interviews. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which is leading the investigation of the laboratory breach because the bacterium is classified as a potential bioterror agent, said its investigation is ongoing and that at this time "there is no known public health threat."

Visit USA Today for the report.



New study shows inevitability of leukemia mutations

Leukemia, one of the most common cancers associated with children, has been shown to actually increase with age. The study, reports BBC News, was published in the journal Cell Reports, and shows that 70% of healthy people in their 90’s had genetic errors that could eventually lead to leukemia. These numbers could even increase further as life expectancy gets longer. These mutations have long been known to exist, but never before have they been directly linked to aging.

This was put together by a team at the Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute who analyzed the blood of 4,219 elderly people. During the study, they focused on accurately testing for errors in the DNA that are typically linked to the blood cancers. In this way, they would notice is one blood cell in a hundred carried such a mutation. While they did find mutations, the results were not what they expected. The data suggests that 20% of people in their 50’s have potentially cancerous mutations rising to 70% in people in their 90’s. This means that a lot of people start towards developing leukemia. However, only a few of those people actually develop the disease.

Though progression to leukemia is currently very rare, it could become more common as people begin to live longer and longer. As of right now, one in three girls and one in four boys is expected to live to age 100. The researchers believe that searching the blood for such mutations may identify people at high risk of developing leukemia who may, in the future, be targeted with preventative therapies. This is a very important study, and could provide ways to help with early detection for other cancers as well. Visit Science Recorder for the study.



Nearly halted in Sierra Leone, Ebola makes comeback by sea

FREETOWN, Sierra Leone — It seemed as if the Ebola crisis was abating. New cases were plummeting. The president lifted travel restrictions, and schools were to reopen. A local politician announced on the radio that two 21-day incubation cycles had passed with no new infections in his Freetown neighborhood. The country, many health officials said, was “on the road to zero.”

Then Ebola washed in from the sea. Sick fishermen came ashore in early February to the packed wharf-side slums that surround the country’s fanciest hotels, which were filled with public health workers. Volunteers fanned out to contain the outbreak, but the virus jumped quarantine lines and cascaded into the countryside, bringing dozens of new infections and deaths.

Public health experts seem to have no doubt that the disease can be vanquished in the West African countries ravaged by it in the last year. But the steep downward trajectory of new cases late last year and into January did not lead to the end of the epidemic.

In Sierra Leone, the hardest hit of the countries, the decline leveled off in late January, and the country has reported 60 to 80 new cases weekly since then. Guinea has experienced months of lower-level spread. Even in Liberia, where only a handful of treatment beds remain occupied, responders lament that a healthcare worker who recently became ill might have exposed dozens of colleagues and patients, and that a knife fight had exposed gang members to the blood of a man who tested positive for Ebola.

As large epidemics taper off, it is common to find new complications in the effort to reach zero cases. “Oftentimes we find surprises when we get to a low level that were hidden by the epidemic itself early on,” said Dr. William Foege, a former director of the C.D.C. and a leading figure in the eradication of smallpox. For example, health officials managed to reduce measles drastically in the United States in the 1970s, but it took some time before experts realized that a few travelers per week arriving from other countries were developing the illness, continuing its spread. Importation of measles is again a problem today, and it is suspected as a factor in the current outbreak linked to Disneyland. Then there is polio, which experts had resolved to eliminate globally by 2000, before wars and unexpected resistance disrupted the plan.

Eliminating smallpox about 35 years ago required a deep understanding of the communities in which it hid. During its last stand, in Somalia, people obscured cases, partly out of embarrassment.

“I think Ebola will turn out to be the same thing,” Dr. Foege said. “The surprises will not be so much scientific as cultural: the ability to hide cases; the desire not to be identified as having Ebola or being in contact with Ebola. Those are the things we have to find out how to overcome.”

That challenge is apparent now in Sierra Leone, where the arrival of infected mariners — combined with a recent easing of anti-Ebola measures, persistent community resistance to containment measures and misunderstanding — has contributed to the surge in the capital. Vice President Samuel Sam-Sumana said Saturday that he had placed himself under quarantine after one of his security officers died of Ebola.

There are various theories about how the seamen might have been infected and how they spread Ebola to others. Some fishermen delayed reporting their illnesses, stopping instead at an island for treatment with native herbs before coming home to the capital. A few wharf residents who later fell ill thought they had come into contact with contaminated bodily fluids at a shared toilet block that was recently built in Tamba Kula by the aid group Oxfam.

When the cluster erupted at the wharf area — part of a large neighborhood known as Aberdeen, with about 9,000 residents — some Ebola prevention workers were taken by surprise because they had been continuing surveillance efforts. Officials imposed a quarantine, prompting many fishermen to take to the sea to avoid it. The authorities sent out word for them to return. Visit the New York Times for the story.



WHO warns of pandemics worse than 2009 Swine Flu outbreak

The World Health Organization has warned world governments to prepare for future flu pandemics, which could be even worse than 2009's swine flu outbreak. The world is highly vulnerable to a severe flu pandemic and governments should increase surveillance, vigilance and preparedness, the World Health Organization (WHO) has said.

"Nothing about influenza is predictable -- including where the next pandemic might emerge and which virus might be responsible," the United Nations health agency warned while noting the next pandemic could be worse than the 2009 swine flu outbreak that killed over 284,000.

This year's seasonal flu season has been bad in many parts of the world, with Asia, the Americas and Europe reporting high levels of circulating flu viruses and low levels of protection from vaccines that did not match the relevant strains. The health organization is particularly concerned about avian influenza, noting that the diversity and geographical distribution of influenza viruses currently circulating in wild and domestic birds are unprecedented.

The highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza virus, which has been causing poultry outbreaks in Asia almost continuously since 2003 and is now endemic in several countries, is the influenza virus of greatest concern for human health. Over the past two years, H5N1 has been joined by newly detected H5N2, H5N3, H5N6, and H5N8 strains, all of which are currently circulating in different parts of the world.

Praising virological research that had increased capability to detect, understand and assess new viruses for pandemic risk, and to track their international spread, the WHO noted that this has to be stepped up.

More antiviral medicines, including peramivir and laninamivir as well as oseltamivir and zanamivir, are now available to treat influenza and reduce the duration and severity of infection. But better vaccines and shorter production times are required. More people would die in the three to four months currently needed to manufacture vaccines.

The WHO has said it is "carefully watching" the current swine flu outbreak in India. The toll in two months has crossed 1,041 with cases breaching the 19,000 mark by Saturday, 28 February. Many parts of India including Mumbai are facing a shortage of laboratories for testing swine flu and isolation units. Visit the IB Times for the article.