Industry news: Intelerad, Kodak, Neutrino, SonoSite, UnitedHealthcare

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Intelerad has ranked Number 397 on Deloitte’s 2006 Technology Fast 500, a ranking of the 500 fastest growing technology, media, telecommunications and life sciences companies in North America. Rankings are based on percentage revenue growth over five years, from 2001–2005.

In addition, Intelerad was among Canada’s Technology Fast 50, which is a ranking of the 50 fastest growing technology firms in Canada.

Eastman Kodak Company’s Health Group announced immediate price increases worldwide on all its medical imaging films and related supplies. This is the second time this year the company has announced price increases. This time, the company offered as the core reason the continued high price of raw materials, particularly silver. The current increases range from 8 to 12 percent, but vary depending on products and markets. Details surrounding the new prices will be communicated locally in each country, the company said.

Hand-carried ultrasound developer SonoSite has prevailed in a patent dispute with Neutrino Development Corporation (Neutrino) that played out in the United States Court of Appeals. In March 2006, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas, Houston Division, granted SonoSite’s motion for summary judgment, and reversed its earlier finding that SonoSite infringed Neutrino’s patent, US Patent No. 6,221,021.  Neutrino had appealed the district court decision to the Federal Circuit, a specialized appellate court that hears patent appeals. The unanimous decision in favor of SonoSite was issued on December 12. Neutrino originally filed its complaint against SonoSite in July of 2001 alleging that SonoSite’s hand-carried ultrasound products infringed its ‘021 patent, entitled “Method and Apparatus for Penile Hemodynamic Stimulation, Monitoring and Drug Delivery Acceleration.”

UnitedHealthcare announced its support for the “Door to Balloon (D2B): An Alliance for Quality” campaign recently initiated by the American College of Cardiology (ACC) and supported by 22 partnering organizations including the American Heart Association (AHA). The campaign aims to improve door to balloon time, which is the interval between a patient’s arrival at the hospital and the opening of a blocked artery with an angioplasty balloon. Patients who receive prompt treatment are more likely to survive a common type of heart attack. The organization had incorporated door to balloon time as one of the quality measurements in its UnitedHealth Premium designation program for cardiac facilities nationwide. In support of this new initiative by the ACC, UnitedHealth is increasing the weight of measurement assigned to the door to balloon performance standard. As a result, a facility that lowers door to balloon time will receive a higher quality score. Under the UnitedHealth Premium program, facilities seeking designation status must submit clinical outcomes data, resulting in increased access to unparalleled datasets on performance against cardiac care criteria established by recognized experts that cardiac facilities, physicians and patients can use to make informed choices. “We believe that providing hospitals, physicians and health care professionals with evidence-based information they can use to analyze clinical performance is one of the most important ways to improve clinical quality,” said Reed Tuckson, M.D., executive vice president and chief of medical affairs for UnitedHealth Group.