eNews February 2, 2021

The latest news affecting you and your customers… from the Independent Medical Specialty Dealers Association

How is COVID-19 affecting your business, your people, your customers? IMDA is a membership organization, and in times like these, we can all use some camaraderie. If you have a COVID story to share, advice to offer, or a warning to sound, send it to Mark Thill, IMDA’s communications director, at mdthill1913@gmail.com, with the subject line “IMDA COVID story.” We’ll compile them and send them back out to you.

Researchers tackle orthostatic hypotension

A common outcome of spinal cord injury is orthostatic hypotension, or the inability to maintain a stable blood pressure when switching positions between sitting, standing, or lying down, according to an article in Stat. This can lead to dizziness or fainting, and in the long term can increase risk of heart attack or stroke. Researchers with the University of Calgary and the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology have devised a potential solution — a neuroprosthetic device that can replicate the natural physiological process to sustain blood pressure while changing positions. Just a few centimeters in length, the implanted device imitates the body’s baroreflex, stimulating the spine to trigger neural responses that affect blood pressure.

Smart bandage can detect infections

By embedding nanosensors in the fibers of a bandage, researchers at the University of Rhode Island have created a continuous, noninvasive way to detect and monitor an infection in a wound. “Single-walled carbon nanotubes within the bandage will be able to identify an infection in the wound by detecting concentrations of hydrogen peroxide,” said Assistant Professor Daniel Roxbury. The “smart bandage” will be monitored by a miniaturized wearable device, which will wirelessly (optically) detect the signal from the carbon nanotubes in the bandage. The signal can be transmitted to a smartphone-type of device that then automatically alerts the patient or healthcare provider. Roxbury hopes the device will diagnose infection at an early stage, necessitating fewer antibiotics and preventing drastic measures, such as limb amputation. “We envision this being particularly useful for those with diabetes, where the management of chronic wounds is routine.”

Pulse oximeters: How accurate for patients of color?

The FDA should immediately review how accurately pulse oximeters monitor blood oxygen levels of patients of color, wrote three U.S. senators in a letter to FDA Acting Commissioner Janet Woodcock. The letter cited a report on “racial bias in pulse oximetry measurement,” which appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine. “The use of pulse oximeters to monitor blood oxygen levels has increased during the [COVID-19] pandemic, but a new study suggests that devices measuring blood oxygen levels are less accurate in Black patients with undetected low levels of oxygen in their blood when compared to white patients,” wrote Senators Elizabeth Warren, Cory Booker and Ron Wyden. “The authors concluded that ‘reliance on pulse oximetry to triage patients and adjust supplemental oxygen levels may place Black patients at increased risk for hypoxemia,’” they said.

Four ways to improve virtual sales training

Virtual training sessions must be shorter, but more frequent, so learners can apply new skills when opportunities arise, says Andrea Grodnitzky, chief marketing officer for Richardson Sales Performance, in a roundup of experts’ advice on virtual training in Selling Power magazine. She added that trainers must make learning interactive through the use of polling, role play, and breakout groups; training groups must be kept small to keep engagement high; and organizations must incorporate virtual sales training into their curriculum now, as this mode of interfacing with customers normalizes.

For those in the pediatric market …

If you work with manufacturers of innovative pediatric medical devices, alert them to a three-day (Feb. 9-11) virtual public workshop dealing with ways to accelerate medical device development for the unique needs of children. It is sponsored by the Critical Path Institute, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Devices and Radiological Health, AdvaMed, American Academy of Pediatrics, and leaders of pediatric health systems. Learn more here.