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Advice from the BP Measurement Experts

Complete Product Registration & You Might Just Get A Raise!

Picture of a Finger pressing a Register Button

We all see the card that comes with our new gadget, encouraging us to register our product online, and give it a furtive glance. But many times, that gets quickly forgotten or put into the ever-mounting pile of “to dos” that you will get to in your “free time.” Rather than list all of the reasons that product registration is important, here is what I intended to be a clever way of reviewing the benefits of completing this process…

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Healthcare Associated Infections Reduced Under Pressure

7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs Infographic

We all know it’s necessary, often put it off, sometimes dread it, but eventually – we give in…and schedule our annual physical. After we have been properly weighed and measured, so to speak, we are left to await the arrival of our physician. Following the staccato knock indicating the doctor is entering, he dutifully washes his hands and offers a friendly hello. Long after the disposable protector is removed from the thermometer and forgotten in the trash, he reviews the chart for any obvious issues. Dutifully applying the disposable protector to his otoscope, our ears, eyes and nose are all given a sufficient look. Stethoscope wiped with the appropriate sanitizer, our hearts get a good listen. Hopefully, we soon go home with a clean bill of health and the intention of shedding a few pounds before next year’s appointment.

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Pay-For-Performance Achieves Better Hypertension Control?

Pay-For-Performanc Achieves Better Hypertension Control?As the Affordable Care Act becomes more established here in the US, one of the many new initiatives it brings to bear is pay-for-performance. Pay-for-performance is an incentive that encourages physicians to deliver a higher quality of care, as opposed to a reimbursement model that drives more tests and procedures. While similar to the system the National Health Service (NHS) has had in the UK for several years now, there is much debate over whether this method will improve the healthcare situation in the US. One group of researchers recently tested the pay-for-performance model by using the rate of hypertension control as their quality metric.

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ABPM Makes a Lot of Cents

ABPM ReimbursementAmbulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) is a commonly-used tool for the identification and treatment of hypertension with a variety of clinical applications including identification of white-coat hypertension, diagnosis of masked hypertension, monitoring the efficacy of anti-hypertensive treatment, and identification of resistant hypertension. One common question from both those preparing to implement ABPM in their practice, and current ABPM users alike, is whether or not it is a reimbursable procedure.

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Meaningful Use Incentives Becoming Less Meaningful

Healthcare providers are frustrated with EMRIs it just me, or are healthcare providers becoming increasingly fed up with all of the new, fancy-schmancy healthcare IT 'solutions' that seem to be proliferating faster than ever before? Meaningful Use incentives have been the catalyst for the adoption of electronic medical records at an unprecedented rate, but some clinicians, administrators, and facility managers are beginning to question the value of what they've bought into as they struggle to electronically capture patient information—things like blood pressure, temperature, exam results, and other vitals.

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Telehealth Monitoring May Win Big with New Government Regulations

telemedicineDoes anybody like government imposed penalties? Well, as is normally the case , it depends where you are as a stakeholder.

Readmission penalties drafted in the Affordable Care Act are set to kick in starting October 2013 in the form of Medicare reimbursement cuts to hospitals who have high rates of readmissions for certain health conditions including heart attack, pneumonia and heart failure. Other conditions will be included starting in 2015.

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5 Observations about EMR Integration and Interoperability

EMR IntegrationIt’s no secret that information technology is quickly becoming one of the most important components of the healthcare system, and device interoperability with the EMR is undoubtedly a key piece of the HIT puzzle. Here are five observations about EMR integration and interoperability that should help shed some light on the importance and complexity of this issue.

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HAI's Increase Hospital Readmission Rates

HAI MRSA In previous posts we’ve written about hospitals incorporating new infection control strategies, like dedicating a disposable blood pressure cuff to a patient during their stay, largely to help reduce operational costs.The goal of the new Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) of 2010 is to reduce healthcare costs while improving the quality of patient care. Even though reducing Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) is a top priority at hospitals nationwide, the new healthcare law is also financially incentivizing hospitals to lower readmission rates. Starting in October 2012, hospitals with the highest readmission rates face up to a 1% cut in Medicare pay. By October 2014, hospitals with the highest readmission rates can lose up to 3% of their Medicare reimbursements.

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10 Things To Look For When Purchasing Disposable Cuffs

suntech disposable cuffsWith the passing of the new healthcare law in 2010, more emphasis has been placed on reducing Healthcare Acquired Infections (HAIs) throughout acute-care hospitals. Not only does this new healthcare law have financial penalties for hospitals with the highest rates of HAIs, this law also requires mandatory public reporting of HAI rates for all hospitals in the United States.

Hospitals are currently implementing more stringent Infection Control Policies to reduce the spread of HAIs. Our current e-book details the 7 reasons why disposable cuffs should be a part of an effective infection control program. So even though you know your healthcare facility needs to use to disposable cuffs, what should you look for when selecting and purchasing these cuffs?


  1. Patient Identification Line: Disposable blood pressure cuffs have shown to be an effective approach to reducing the transmission of HAIs, when dedicated for single patient use. When a patient’s identification information can be written on the cuff, it verifies that no one else can use that cuff, minimizes the risk of cross contamination, and reduces the risk of acquiring a HAI in the hospital.
  2. Cuff Standardization Program: Does the disposable cuff manufacturer or distributor offer a program to standardize your facility on one connector? Since the purpose of a disposable cuff is to be used on one patient, it is important to make sure that this cuff can be used on any monitor, anywhere in the hospital. There are a variety of connectors used on blood pressure monitors, so standardizing your hospital on one connector not only improves workflow, it reduces inventory and SKU # which lowers cost.
  3. Patient Comfort: Disposable cuffs must be made out of soft materials and rounded edges. If the cuff is uncomfortable, patients will probably let you know and resultant patient movement during a reading may lead to multiple re-inflates or error codes.
  4. Range of Cuff Sizes: It is extremely important to make sure that a disposable cuff manufacturer makes a full range of cuff sizes. There is a big difference in upper arm circumference between a child, a middle-aged man, and an elderly woman, so your hospital should have the proper size cuffs to use on each patient.
  5. Color-Coding: Most cuff manufacturers color-code their cuffs to help medical professional quickly chose the right size cuff for a patient. Most manufacturers follow the same color coding schemes for each size cuff, which is shown in the table below:
    Cuff Size Color
    Infant Orange
    Child/ Child Long Green
    Small Adult / Small Adult Long Light Blue
    Adult / Adult Long Navy Blue
    Large Adult / Large Adult Long Burgundy
    Thigh Brown
  6. Range Markings: A cuff must have range markers on the inside or outside (preferably both), of the cuff to indicate if the correct size is being used on a patient. Using a cuff that is too small on a patient will affect the accuracy of the measurement and the measurement will be too high. On the other hand, using a cuff that is too large on a patient will result in a measurement that is too low.
  7. Durability: It is important that a disposable cuff is made with a durable material that will be able to withstand multiple inflations, multiple times per day since this cuff will stay with a single patient during the entire duration of their hospital stay.
  8. Latex Free: To minimize risk of adverse reactions to latex and to promote patient safety, disposable cuffs should be free of latex.
  9. Reliable Performance: The last thing you want to happen when you purchase a blood pressure cuff is to have it leak. Therefore, look for a cuff manufacturer that leak tests their cuffs on a regular basis.
  10. Regulatory Requirements: All blood pressure cuffs should be designed and validated to the AHA (American Heart Association) and the AAMI (Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation) standards. These standards provide recommendations for cuff sizing, life cycle of the cuff, maximum inflation, etc.

Whether you are a distributor, physician, nurse, or in materials management and responsible for purchasing blood pressure cuffs, it is good to know the features and benefits of disposable cuffs so you can make an informed decision on which brand of cuff you would like to purchase and use at your facility. If you have any additional features you would like to add to the list, please leave us a comment below.

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iPhone Mania: How and Why OEM Partnerships Work

iphone4In a recent article for MD+DI, we were asked to provide insight on OEM partnerships and what makes them work. In the article, we explain how the developers of the iPhone used OEM partnerships to produce a market-leading product and why those partnerships work; we also detail the numerous benefits and considerations for forming an alliance, such as:

  1. Reducing development time and cost.
  2. Minimizing investment in manufacturing.
  3. Reducing production and material costs.
  4. Helping gain market and product expertise.
    *To see the full article click here

As we have discussed in previous blogs, there’s a process in deciding whether to work with an OEM technology supplier and with whom to choose to partner once you determine that outside expertise is needed.  Combining academic insight with our 20 plus years experience providing OEM blood pressure technologies to the medical device industry, this article delves into how and why we think OEM partnerships work to help create market-changing products.

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New Healthcare Law Means Big Penalties for Hospitals with High HAI Rates

Hospital feesHealthcare Associated Infections (HAIs) are one of the hottest topics in healthcare right now. Over 2,000,000 patients in the United States acquire HAIs, which adds an average of 8 days to the hospital stay and causes approximately 99,000 deaths per year.6 The total annual cost to treat these HAIs in the United States is between $35.7 billion and $45 billion with the average in hospital cost per patient between $20,549 and $25,903.

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Hypertension Diagnosis: Be confident and save money with an ABPM Study

Be confident with an ABPM studyHypertension is a prevalent condition globally and is quickly becoming a focus in the U.K., with particular emphasis on how to best diagnose the condition. In August, a study comparing blood pressure (BP) measurement methods, which was funded by the U.K.’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), was published on the same day that NICE announced the release of its new guidelines for hypertension management in adults.

In the study, Cost-effectiveness of options for the diagnosis of high blood pressure in primary care: a modelling study, the research found that “ambulatory monitoring is cost effective compared with further monitoring in the clinic or home for confirming the diagnosis of hypertension” for all age and gender groups considered. Specifically, ABPM provided cost savings ranging from £56 in men aged 75 years to £323 in women aged 40 years (Equivalent to $89 and $511 respectively). Additionally, it was determined that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM) “resulted in improved health outcomes for male and female age groups older than 50.”

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Choosing an OEM Partner: 3 Ingredients to a Successful Partnership

oem partnershipIn our last OEM technology blog post, we discussed things to consider when deciding whether to work with an OEM clinical technology vendor.  If thinking through these issues encourages you to investigate further, here are three key ingredients to identifying the right partner who will give you the best chance for your ideas and products to succeed in today’s dynamic healthcare marketplace.
As you might expect from a partnership, the first two ingredients depend largely on the partners!

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Top 7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs to Reduce the Transmission of HAI's

HAIsThere have been decades of research on the transmission of Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) throughout healthcare settings.  Studies have shown patients can be exposed to HAIs from contaminated healthcare workers’ attire, environmental surfaces (cabinets, bedrails, countertops, etc.), and reusable medical equipment.7,8  Therefore, many healthcare facilities have implemented Infection Prevention and Control programs to help reduce the spread of HAIs.  Some of the strategies employed to help control HAIs include hand washing and the use of disposable items, such as disposable blood pressure cuffs. With that in mind, the following is an abbreviated list of the “Top 7 Reasons to Use Disposable BP Cuffs to Reduce the Transmission of Healthcare-Associated Infections.”  To download our free ebook version with more in-depth information, pleaseclick here

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MRSA BEWARE: Honey Can Potentially Reverse Antibiotic Resistance

manuka tree and honey beeAs a manufacturer of disposable blood pressure cuffs, we are always interested in new information concerning infection control and potential ways to control antibiotic resistant bacteria (“superbugs”). Since superbugs are creating a serious and growing global threat to public health, the World Health Organization has made antibiotic resistance the central focus of this year’s World Health Day. Furthermore, the Infectious Disease Society of America (ISDA) warns that “unless sweeping actions are taken now, the future could resemble the days before these miracle drugs were developed. People will die of common infections and many medical interventions we take for granted – surgery, chemotherapy, organ transplantation, and premature infant care – will no longer be possible.”

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Top 5 Factors To Consider When Deciding Whether To Use an OEM Technology Supplier

problem solutionThe SunTech blog was established as a discussion place about blood pressure (BP) measurement because that's what we do. Naturally, we have tried to share our understanding of the clinical application experiences with using automated BP measurement in practicing medicine. However, we also partner with other manufacturers to integrate OEM NIBP technology in their medical devices. Some of these are patient monitors that you see in all parts of the hospital. But some of the more specialized devices are used to save lives in an ambulance or Lifeflight, on commercial airline flights, and even in the battlefield. Regardless of the application, these companies all considered whether they should buy, build, or partner in order to achieve their goals. Here are the top five factors companies should consider when deciding whether to use an OEM technology supplier:

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Move Over MRSA & C.Diff, There is a New Superbug in Town

New Superbug BacteriaMost people have heard about the more popular “superbugs” (antibiotic resistance bacteria) such as MRSA (Methicillin Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus) and C.Diff (Clostridium Difficile). But now there is a “new” superbug starting to get alot of attention: NDM-1.

So what exactly is NDM-1 and how is it transmitted? How can disposable blood pressure cuffs play a role in combating this and other infections? These questions, and more, are answered below:

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Regulatory Changes: Are you prepared?

Street sign at the corner of Healthcare End and Reform WayThe regulatory world is changing. Countries are examining and changing the rules and regulations that govern the way businesses interact and make an impact. In the US, with his editorial article in the Wall Street Journal and his State of the Union Address, President Obama makes a clear message about government regulatory systems. He wants balance between commerce & safety, progress & common sense. Obama calls for regulations to be reviewed so that the US “(protects its) safety, health and environment while promoting economic growth.” While the call to update regulations is clear, the balance that is called for lies in a well-known, well-trodden, broad, gray area. It’s this same area that all countries are trying to define, regulate, and enforce for the good of their citizens.

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ABPM Reimbursement in the US

Stethoscope and moneyAs a follow-up to the previous post about hypertension neglect in the US, I wanted to provide a bit more information about ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). As we've discussed in previous blog posts, ambulatory blood pressure monitoring is a commonly-used tool for the identification and treatment of hypertension. Many health care providers are still unaware that ABPM is a reimbursable procedure although Medicare approved reimbursement in 2001. Routine use of ABPM can serve as a source of revenue for physicians while also improving the quality of care for patients.


 

There are new guidelines for US ABPM Reimbursement.

Download the new copy today!

 

Get My Free US ABPM Reimbursement Guidelines

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