eNews November 17, 2020

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.

Let’s bump some elbows in June!

Handshakes may be scarce, but elbow bumps will be plentiful, at the IMDA/HIRA Annual Conference, June 21-23, 2021, at Eaglewood Resort in Itasca, Illinois — just a few miles from O’Hare International Airport in Chicago. What are you interested in learning? Let the conference committee know by emailing IMDA Executive Assistant Katie Sizemore at imda@imda.org.

Hospital-at-home: Your new customer?

Hospital-at-home is a program gaining popularity among health systems – including Mayo Clinic and Intermountain Healthcare — which deploys hospital-level care overseen by a physician for patients at their homes. Speaking on a recent video sponsored by Fierce Health, Jim Sheets, vice president of outreach for Intermountain, said the program hasn’t just helped preserve capacity to treat COVID-19 patients, but it has helped broaden the acceptance of telehealth and remote monitoring services. However, there are some challenges with setting up such a program, especially when it comes to regulations and reimbursement.

Potential treatment for life-threatening intoxication

Scientists in Canada say they’ve found a new way to treat potentially life-threatening alcohol intoxication—by helping people literally breathe out the alcohol in their system, reports Gizmodo. The device was found to speed up the clearance of alcohol from healthy volunteers three times faster. According to study author and inventor Joseph Fisher, the patient is outfitted with a gas mask, which connects to a supply of oxygen and carbon dioxide. The mixture of gases they breathe in causes them to hyperventilate, while the device then feeds them back enough carbon dioxide that the body doesn’t involuntarily freak out.

Made in America

The Biden campaign’s COVID-19 plan looks to make American manufacturing of medical products a priority, reports MedTech Dive. “The U.S. government should immediately work with the private sector to map critical healthcare supplies; identify their points of origin; examine the supply chain process; and create a strategic plan to build redundancies and domestic capacity,” the plan states. The principles track with a letter last month from the Healthcare Supply Chain Association to the U.S. International Trade Commission, calling for increasing collaboration between public and private stakeholders, exploring private sector incentives for domestic manufacturing, continuing to provide tariff relief for critical medical products during the pandemic, and strengthening supply chains in advance of emergencies.

ECMO effective for cardiac arrest

Using a life support machine to replicate the functions of the heart and lungs significantly improved the survival of people who suffered from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, according to a study published in The Lancet, reports the National Institutes of Health. The treatment program involving extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO) proved so much more effective than the standard treatment for cardiac arrest (i.e., CPR, defibrillation, intubation, IV medications) that the trial was stopped early after enrolling just 30 of the expected 165 patients. Approximately 340,000 people die of cardiac arrest each year in the United States.

Long-term outcomes of COVID-19

Researchers from the University of Michigan Health System and The Michigan Hospital Medicine Safety Collaborative reported the following among patients discharged between March 16 and July 1, 2020, in the Annals of Internal Medicine:

  • Of 1,648 patients with COVID-19 admitted to 38 participating hospitals, 398 (24.2%) died during hospitalization and 1,250 (75.8%) survived.
  • Of the 1,250 discharged patients, 975 (78.0%) went home and 158 (12.6%) were discharged to a skilled nursing or rehabilitation facility.
  • By 60 days after discharge, an additional 84 patients (6.7% of hospital survivors and 10.4% of ICU-treated hospital survivors) had died.
  • The overall mortality rate for the cohort was 29.2%, and 63.5% for the 405 patients who received treatment in an ICU. Within 60 days of discharge, 189 patients (15.1% of hospital survivors) were rehospitalized.