· MEDRAD Gets Recognition for Design
· Spotlight on Study: No Insurance? No Colorectal Cancer Screening
· “Elite” Contrast Delivery Reduces Medical Errors
· Ahead of Its KLAS

MEDRAD Gets Recognition for Design

The development of any medical product comes with potential risks. The question is, is the technology worth the investment?

MEDRAD Inc, Warrendale, Pa, asked itself that question while it was planning to release its XDS Extravasation Detector. A 2008 Medical Design Excellence Award given to the product solidified the answer.

“This prestigious award recognizes our XDS Extravasation Detector technology, the investment of many resources for research and development, and the inherent risk of developing medical devices,” said Cliff Krass, senior vice president, MEDRAD CT Business Unit. “The MDEA validates that the investment and risk were worth it. We are proud that we have succeeded in developing an extravasation technology that continues MEDRAD’s long-standing commitment to patient safety.”

MEDRAD’s XDS employs technology that aids in the detection of leaking intravenous contrast media from the injection site into surrounding tissue during computed tomography diagnostic studies.

Presented by Canon Communications and sponsored by Medical Device and Diagnostic Industry magazine, the MDEA competition was set up to recognize medical product excellence in design and engineering features, innovative use of materials, and user-related functions that improve health care delivery. It also honors technologies that are equipped with features that benefit patients, and gives recognition to development teams that had to overcome challenges.

A multidisciplinary panel of jurors, all of whom have expertise in either biomedical engineering, human factors, industrial design, medicine, or diagnostics, review the entries and select the winners.

MEDRAD and its development partner, Battelle Medical Device Solutions, accepted the award at a ceremony this past summer at the Medical Design and Manufacturing East 2008 Conference and Exposition in New York.

Spotlight on Study: No Insurance? No Colorectal Cancer Screening

The lack of health insurance appears to play a major role in deterring Americans from getting screened for colorectal cancer, according to new research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as reported by Reuters Health.

Only half of Americans who should be screened for the disease actually go through with the testing.

“Colorectal cancer is the second leading cancer killer in the US, but it doesn’t have to be,” said study lead researcher Jean Shapiro, MD, an epidemiologist at the CDC in Atlanta. Screening not only allows for early detection of cancer, but it also can identify precancerous polyps that can be removed before cancer develops, she added.

In the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers and Prevention, Shapiro and her fellow researchers investigated reasons for people’s reluctance to get screened, even though regular screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for people ages 50 and older. The team analyzed data on 13,269 people ages 50 and older who participated in the 2005 National Health Interview Survey.

Exactly half of the survey’s respondents indicated that they had been screened for colorectal cancer with a fecal occult blood test (FOBT) within the past year, endoscopy within the past decade, or both. However, just 24.1% of people without health insurance had gotten tested. Among those who reported having no usual source of health care, 24.7% had been screened.

Levels of income and education also seemed to affect colorectal cancer screening rates. Fifty-eight and a half percent of people with household incomes of $75,000 or more were screened, compared with 37.4% of those with incomes of $20,000 or less. Thirty-seven percent of people who had not finished high school had been screened, compared with 60.7% of college graduates who had gone through testing.

Of people who hadn’t seen a physician in the past year, 80.5% had not been screened. Approximately 50% of survey respondents who failed to get screened said they had “never thought about it,” while about 20% said their physician “did not order it.”

According to the researchers, these findings make it clear that more people need to be informed about colorectal cancer screening, and physicians must better inform patients about the test. The study also demonstrates that more people should have health coverage in the United States, Shapiro said.

“People should talk to their doctor about what the best way for them to be screened is,” Shapiro said, adding that both health insurance and Medicare will usually cover colorectal cancer screening.

The researchers point out that guidelines from the US Preventive Services Task force recommend that people ages 50 and older get an FOBT every year, flexible sigmoidoscopy every 5 years, colonoscopy every 10 years, or a double-contrast barium enema every 5 years.

“Elite” Contrast Delivery Reduces Medical Errors

It can happen. A clinician could improperly seat a catheter in the vein, accidentally administering intravenously infused contrast media into surrounding tissue during an MR procedure. Or a provider could confuse one medication with another while manually filling syringes.

Aiming to eliminate the risk of these medical errors, Covidien, Hazelwood, Mo, recently launched the Optistar Elite contrast delivery system. As an improvement to the company’s previous Optistar LE model, the new system is designed to inject contrast media-related drugs into a patient’s vascular system, therefore helping to obtain diagnostic images when used with MR imaging equipment.

“This injector is an evolution in design with new features and software enhancements aimed at improving the system’s performance and delivering improved clinical efficiency and confidence in performance,” said Steve Hanley, president, imaging solutions, at Covidien. “Through its advancements in imaging technology, we expect this system to deliver greater reliability and improved performance, as well as bring enhanced clinical value to the patient and end user.”

Hanley said the system’s new features, when combined with Covidien’s Ultraject prefilled syringes, are designed to help reduce the potential of certain medication errors and help enhance efficiency. Among the significant features is the Patency Check, which aids clinicians in checking for the potential of extravasation. Specifically, it is programmed to deliver a 10 mL saline injection while the clinician examines the patient’s injection site, prior to the injection of contrast media-related drugs.

The system is also equipped with a visual alert, placed on the injector powerhead and the control console. This alert warns clinicians when the programmed pressure limit engages as a result of significant fluid path obstruction during the Patency Check.

“Clinicians tell us they are striving for clinical and workflow efficiency,” Hanley said. “Covidien’s injector is designed to enhance exam outcomes and diagnostic confidence by allowing the clinician to enable the injector from either the control console or from the injector itself, which may help minimize delays and save time.”

Furthermore, the injector has a multi-phase programming feature, which provides the ability to set up as many as six phases for each exam protocol and store up to 40 protocols in the system’s memory.

Used with the company’s Ultraject prefilled syringes, the Optistar Elite can help avoid medication confusion and ensure proper setup through color-coordinated powerhead buttons. Moreover, the syringes help minimize the risk for contamination and reduce the risk of transmission of nosocomial infection, Hanley said.

“Using the Ultraject prefilled syringes also helps meet certain regulatory requirements by reducing the steps required for Joint Commission compliance and eliminating the need to hand-label syringes,” he added.

Other system components include a Timing Bolus, which enables specific amounts of contrast media to be injected during a test scan. This assists in determining optimum transmit time of the imaging agent to the area being scanned, and it ultimately maximizes the diagnostic information obtained in the scan. The Optistar Elite injector’s 3T-compatible dual-syringe powerhead allows injection setup and control at the patient’s side. Also, the auto retract sequence saves time by permitting users to quickly remove both syringes from the dual powerhead without waiting for both rams to fully retract.

Ahead of Its KLAS

Toshiba America Medical Systems Inc, Tustin, Calif, achieved the top rankings for three of its modalities, as well as the overall medical equipment vendor for 2008, in the KLAS Top 20: Best in KLAS Awards announced during the summer.

Number one spots went to the company’s Aquilion 64, Vantage 1.5 T MRI, and Xario Ultrasound system in their respective categories in KLAS’ Top 20 Medical Equipment Awards for 2008.

“We are honored to receive the overall top medical equipment vendor recognition from KLAS,” said Larry Dentice, senior vice president and general manager, Toshiba. “KLAS has a long-established reputation of offering honest, accurate, and impartial vendor performance information, and it is gratifying to know that our commitment to excellence and innovation has been recognized by our customers. In a time where health care costs are carefully scrutinized and efficiency is paramount to both the patient and the health care provider, we remain committed to developing equipment and other services that meet the functionality and proficiency needs of our customers.”

In the newly recognized category “CT-Under 64-Slice,” the Aquilion 16 edged out its competition, and in the “CT 64-Slice and over” category, the Aquilion 64 maintained its top ranking. Toshiba and its Vantage 1.5T also kept its top spot in the MRI category, while the Toshiba Xario and Aplio Ultrasound systems were number one and two, respectively, in the Ultrasound category.

With the success of all its products, Toshiba earned the top overall ranking in medical equipment vendor rankings for this year. Last year, the company surpassed its competition in number one rankings and was awarded “Best in KLAS” for CT, MRI, and Ultrasound.

KLAS is an independent research firm whose yearly Top 20: Best in KLAS Awards Reports summarizes medical equipment performance data as reported by physician’s offices, clinics, IDNs, inpatient facilities, and applicable health care agencies.