June 2009

NEWS REVIEW

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GE plans to invest $6 billion on healthcare

GE Healthcare, the $17-billion healthcare arm of General Electric launched new, low cost products, aimed at developing markets such as India, as the company seeks to spend around $6 billion on its global strategy to grow its revenues from emerging markets. As part of its ‘Healthymagination’ initiative, GE will spend $3 billion over the next six years on research and development, provide $2 billion of financing over the next six years to drive healthcare information technology and health in rural and underserved areas, and invest $1 billion in partnerships, content and services. GE has also demonstrated a hand-held ultrasound machine and a bassinet with an overhead heater among products to be manufactured as part of the company’s strategy to shift its focus to lower cost products in Washington.

Philips announces the acquisition of Traxtal

Royal Philips Electronics announced that it has acquired Canada-based Traxtal Inc., an innovative medical technology company in the field of minimally-invasive instruments and software for image-guided intervention and therapy. Traxtal’s navigation solution functions as a GPS for medical instruments, designed to make interventional radiology procedures more accurate while aiming to reduce contrast, radiation dose and interventional time. Coupled with Philips’ strong position in medical imaging, this acquisition enables Philips to become one of the leading healthcare solutions providers for image guided procedures.

Traxtal complements Philips’ offering in the area of minimally-invasive procedures. Traxtal’s navigation solution displays, during the procedure, the instrument’s position, orientation, and trajectory on medical images such as Ultrasound or CT. An example is the radiofrequency ablation of liver tumors during this procedure Traxtal’s PercuNav system helps guide and monitor the positioning of the ablation needle towards the center of the lesion.

Ranbaxy looks to rebuild its US business

After facing massive losses coupled with regulatory hurdles in the American market, Ranbaxy Laboratories Ltd has chalked out plans to revamp its US business. For the year, 2009, Ranbaxy has a clear strategy to harness its growth potential in the emerging markets, rebuild the US business through a series of actions on products and facilities. For the quarter ended March 31, 2009, Ranbaxy reported a loss of 153 million dollars, while it posted a 14 per cent decline in its US business at 68 million dollars. The company is taking various actions for minimising its losses. It is also working to increase the capacity of its US-based subsidiary Ohm Laboratories.

In September last year, US health regulator Food and Drug Administration had banned the import of 30 generic medicines manufactured at Ranbaxy’s two plants — Paonta Sahib and Dewas – in India. Ranbaxy had indicated that it is looking for acquiring FDA approved manufacturing facilities to shift its products from Paonta Sahib and Dewas.

Merge Healthcare partners with China’s health IT provider

Merge Healthcare, medical imaging solutions provider has partnered with Shanghai Kingstar Winning Co., a healthcare IT leader in China. The Merge Healthcare China office will make available clinical imaging solutions and professional services to Kingstar Winning for use by more than 800 hospitals in its install base, as well as future Kingstar Winning customers. The strategic partnership between Merge Healthcare and Kingstar Winning comes at an excellent time for healthcare in China. The Chinese government has announced a new healthcare reform plan, similar to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, which allocates almost $20 billion for health IT. The plan outlines $125 billion (USD) in spending over the next three years, including a sizeable investment in rural health technology and infrastructure. Together, Merge and Kingstar Winning will provide cost-effective, quality solutions into more rural areas, leading to better patient care for these communities and contributing to the success of the reform plan.

iSOFT wins US$ 3.54m deal in England for a HMS

iSOFT, an IBA Health Group Company  announced that it has won a contract for a hospital information system with a National Health Service (NHS) trust in southern England worth US$3.54m over five years.

The contract with Heatherwood and Wexham Park Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust is for iSOFT’s i.Patient Manager (i.PM) PAS and a technical refresh of an existing iSOFT clinical solution, i.Clinical Manager (i.CM). i.PM is replacing an outdated third-party system. The trust elected to contract directly with iSOFT for a replacement PAS instead of waiting for a solution under England’s National Programme for IT. This is one of the first major deals in the Southern Cluster, which was formerly serviced by Fujitsu.

Slovenia rolls out e-health insurance card system

The Health Insurance Institute of Slovenia (HIIS) has decided to roll out a new electronic health insurance card project to streamline the patients’ claims processing system. The new system enables healthcare providers to instantly and accurately check a patient’s health insurance status and allows for health claims to be processed online.

The system enables healthcare providers to accurately check a patient’s health insurance status and allows them to instantly process health claims. The decision to implement the new electronic health insurance system nationwide comes after the successful completion of a pilot program at Dr Franc Derganc General Hospital in the Nova Gorica region of Slovenia.

The new system is based on an IBM integrated IT infrastructure solution that links healthcare providers to both public and private health insurance organisations. The company has provided the hardware, software and services in order to create the central IT infrastructure for the project. The solution is based on IBM System z10 hardware that runs on its WebSphere and DB2 software. The main software components include modules for identifying, authenticating and authorising health professionals to ensure a secure communication channel between the healthcare provider and insurer.

Airtel offers health services on mobile

Airtel users in Karnataka will now have access to two new health care services via their mobile phones. The services: Virtual Blood Bank Service and VacciDate service are being offered to subscribers free of cost.

Airtel claims that in an emergency, its subscribers can rely on its service to call for the Virtual Blood Bank Service when in need of blood. This service aims to bridge the gap between blood banks, donors and recipients of blood. Subscribers will need to dial the toll free number 51514 from their Airtel mobiles to access this service. This IVR based emergency helpline number will assist and guide the Airtel customer till the time his/ her requirement of blood is addressed.

VacciDate service is a vaccination alert system on mobiles for Airtel subscribers. The service is aimed at parents so they can keep a track of their child’s vaccination dates. This free service also has a special alert feature for POLIO Sundays organised by the Government of India. Lastly, users can also query the system to check their kids’ next vaccination date. Airtel customers need to SMS VACC (Date of Birth in DD MM YYYY Format) to 52225.

Cadila Pharmaceuticals ties up with TAKE Solutions

Cadila Pharmaceuticals recently selected TAKE Solutions for their PharmaReady eCTD, SPL and PPM software for regulatory submissions management. Considered to be a major win, the project came in less than twelve months since TAKE Solutions launched the product in India. Speaking on this occassion, Ramesh L, VP-Sales, Life Sciences APAC, said, “Cadila is a valuable addition to our growing list of Indian customers. The association with a brand like Cadila proves the reliability of our products for top notch companies.

HID Global introduces e-Health LAN card reader

HID Global, a leading access and ID management solution provider, is introducing the OMNIKEY 8751 e-Health LAN card reader terminal on the market. The device has already been in use in German clinics, pharmacies and medical practices since 2007 in the scope of the test regions for the new health card. The network-compatible card reader terminal has Gematik’s e-health BCS approval and supports all current requirements for multi-functional card terminals (MCT/BCS).

The OMNIKEY 8751 e-Health LAN reads current medical insurance cards as well as the new electronic health cards, and is thus equipped for all future functions in German health care. In addition to having a serial port, the reader can also be integrated into a network as an MCT/BCS terminal and has an RFID interface for the planned convenience signature. What’s more, the firmware upgrade required for the online expansion of the nationwide e-health telematics infrastructure is provided free of charge. The OMNIKEY 8751 e-Health LAN card reader terminal is one of the first reader devices to receive Gematik’s e-health BCS approval. This means that it has been approved for the general rollout as of August 2009 and is refundable in the scope of the financing agreement. TheOMNIKEY 8751 e-Health LAN can be used by conventional means via serial interface or can also be put to use immediately in existing practices by using what’s known as a CT-API.

Philippines urged to adopt telemedicine

Senator Joseph Emilio A. Abaya of the first district of the Cavite province stressed the need for the country to have a law pushing for a telemedicine bill that will facilitate collaboration between public and private institutions, and government and non-government offices.

The call was made during the e-Health and Telemedicine 2009 Conference and Exhibition on 9 May in Quezon City, where the congressman noted how the rapid development of ICT has provided a window of opportunity for the health sector to expand its reach. According to 2007 data from the National Statistics Office (NSO), there are only 2955 medical doctors in public hospitals; and this is a paltry number in relation to our burgeoning population (90 million), especially in the provincial areas where people rely on government facilities for their health and medical needs.

Hetero bags Government’s anti-flu drug deal

Hyderabad-based Hetero Drugs has bagged the government’s 10-million anti-flu drug order. The company will supply nine million capsules of Oseltamivir, the generic version of Roche’s Tamiflu, to the government.

Industry officials estimate Hetero Drugs would earn INR30-35 crore from the order. The pharma company has the licence from Swiss drug major Roche to develop and sell the generic version of Tamiflu. Hetero Drugs pips bigger rivals, such as Cipla, Ranbaxy, Roche India and Natco, who also sent quotations to supply their drugs. The remaining order will be completed by mid-June. The company is expecting to bag additional drug orders worth at least $10 million (Rs 50 crore) from foreign governments. It is in talks with about 40-50 countries, which include Argentina, Columbia, Venezuela, Honduras, Thailand, the Philippines, Egypt, Saudi Arabia and over 10 countries in Africa. Following the global outbreak of H1N1 Influenza Flu, governments across the world are stockpiling Oseltamivir to combat the disease.

Wave Medical’s clinical decision support now in hand

Health professionals need to look no further than their iPhone to support them at the point of care. Wave Medical, who provides clinical decision support applications to general practitioners, nurses, emergency doctors and medical students has expanded its mobile platform offering to include the iPhone and iPod Touch.

Now all healthcare professionals can easily access any of Wave Medical’s specialty-focused clinical decision support applications through iPhone’s innovative platform.

With thousands of international drug names, dosing and medical calculators, disease profiles, illustrations and a powerful drug interactions generator, Wave Medical’s fully integrated content enables quick navigation through the clinical decision process. Heavy textbooks are no longer the only reference physicians consult in their daily clinical decision routine. Now the most up to date clinical decision support content is available on their iPhone, in hand and right at their fingertips.

Health care village in Kerala

A multi-disciplinary health care village has been proposed on 40 hectares of land in Kozhikode as part of providing integrated treatment facilities from all scientific streams of medicine. Conceived by Infrastructures Kerala Limited (InKEL), the village, to be completed in four years, is estimated to cost Rs.417 crore.

The project, being implemented in association with the State government, is expected to bring in another Rs.1,583 crore from the private sector in setting up other facilities. The village is aimed at promoting medical tourism in the State, setting up wellness, preventive and alternative medicine centres, a medical college and a hospital with state-of-the-art health-care infrastructure. A 500-bed multi-specialty hospital is to be set up in the first phase. The village will ultimately have a 2,000-bed facility.

A medical college, a super-specialty hospital, a dental college, a nursing college and a paramedical institution will be part of the village. An exclusive Ayurvedic centre offering traditional treatment, along with a wellness centre, has been proposed. A medical education and training wing will come up on 10 hectares of land with the School of Medicine as the nucleus around which other institutions will function. The school will offer courses in multiple streams of traditional and modern medicine. Each stream will offer postgraduate and doctoral programmes in medicine.

The super-specialty hospital will come up in the medical services wing on another 10 hectares. The proposed recuperation centre is aimed at attracting NRI and medical tourists. Facilities such as helicopter evacuation, tele-diagnostics and telemedicine will be on offer for the needy.

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