Healthcare Innovation

News you might have missed

Drones deliver blood samples
WakeMed Health & Hospitals announced that its flagship hospital and campus in Raleigh, North Carolina, became the first U.S. facility to use drones regularly to deliver medical samples, thanks to a partnership between UPS and Matternet Inc., a startup that develops drones to transport medicine and humanitarian aid. Matternet will use its M2 drone to deliver blood samples between a medical park and the main hospital for lab testing at least five to six times per day, five days per week.

EtO is up for discussion
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration announced it would hold a public meeting in Gaithersburg, Maryland, on Nov. 6 and 7, to discuss industrial ethylene oxide (EtO) sterilization of medical devices and its role in maintaining public health. The FDA reported that the subject matter of the meeting would include potential methods and expert assessment of how to reduce EtO emissions to the environment without compromising sterility or effective processing of medical devices. The meeting – called by the General Hospital and Personal Use Devices Panel of the Medical Devices Advisory Committee – will also discuss recommendations to reduce the risk of infection from reprocessed duodenoscopes.

Mayo, Boston Scientific venture
Mayo Clinic and Boston Scientific Corp. announced in July that they launched a venture to accelerate the development of medical technology and minimally invasive treatments for many health conditions that impede quality and longevity of life. The two organizations report they have collaborated for nearly a decade to develop new devices and technologies in areas such as interventional cardiology, neuromodulation and urology. Together they have filed eight patent applications and collaborated on two first-in-human clinical trials.

Online courses on infection prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released the first in a series of free online training courses to help healthcare organizations prevent and control infections. Developed by the American Hospital Association’s Health Research & Educational Trust, the courses cover competency-based training, hand hygiene and strategies for preventing healthcare-associated infections. Eight more courses – on topics such as environmental cleaning, building a business case for infection prevention, and engaging patients and family members – will be added over the next few months. To access the courses, which are accredited for continuing education, visit

Duodenoscope recommendations
The FDA in August recommended that duodenoscope manufacturers and healthcare facilities transition to different types of duodenoscopes that may pose less risk to patient safety. Because of challenges with cleaning these devices for reuse and persistent high levels of contamination, the agency is recommending moving away from using duodenoscopes with fixed endcaps to those with disposable components that include disposable endcaps – or to fully disposable duodenoscopes, when they become available.

Optum to manage non-clinical work for California hospital
UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division will manage several non-clinical functions, including purchasing, for John Muir Health (Walnut Creek, California) under terms of an agreement announced in July. Optum will manage purchasing, information technology, revenue cycle management, analytics and claims processing. Approximately 540 John Muir Health employees were scheduled to become Optum employees.