eNews Jan 11, 2022

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


Med/surg distributors going home

Owens & Minor has agreed to acquire home care company Apria for approximately $1.45 billion. Apria serves over 2 million patients annually as a provider of home healthcare equipment and services across three service lines: 1) home respiratory therapy (including home oxygen and non-invasive ventilation services); 2) obstructive sleep apnea treatment (including continuous positive airway pressure and bi-level positive airway pressure devices, and patient support services); and 3) negative pressure wound therapy. The acquisition isn’t Owens & Minor’s first in home care. In 2017, the company acquired home medical supplier Byram Healthcare. Meanwhile, Cardinal Health is one of five investors in a new, $110 million round of funding for Medically Home, which provides products and services needed for patients at home, including those needing hospital-level care.


Stryker’s big bet

Stryker announced a definitive merger agreement to acquire Vocera Communications Inc. for about $3 billion. Vocera was founded in 2000 and offers products and services for digital care coordination and communication. According to Stryker’s announcement, “Vocera’s highly developed software competency, unique and innovative hardware solutions, and the ability to securely enable remote communication between patients and their families, complements Stryker’s Advanced Digital Healthcare offerings.” Stryker offers products and services in orthopedics, medical and surgical, and neurotechnology and spine.


COVID’s dialysis victims

In the three decades before the pandemic, the number of Americans with end-stage renal disease had more than quadrupled, from about 180,000 in 1990 to about 810,000 in 2019, according to a report in ProPublica. About 70% of these patients relied on dialysis in 2019; the other 30% received kidney transplants. Then COVID-19 struck. Nearly 18,000 more dialysis patients died in 2020 than would have been expected based on previous years — an increase of nearly 20% from 2019, when more than 96,000 patients on dialysis died. The loss led to an unprecedented outcome: The nation’s dialysis population shrank, the first decline since the U.S. began keeping detailed numbers nearly a half century ago.


Midline catheters decrease risk for bloodstream infections

Midline catheters were associated with a decreased risk for bloodstream infection (BSI) and catheter occlusion when compared with peripherally inserted central catheters (PICC), according to results of a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine. Researchers analyzed data from a multihospital registry on patients who underwent placement of a PICC or midline catheter for either difficult venous access or intravenous antibiotic therapy for 30 days or fewer. Primary outcomes included a composite of symptomatic catheter-associated deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or pulmonary embolism (PE), catheter-related BSI, and catheter occlusion.