"Lab Industry Briefs"

MedUnite, Bio-Reference Labs, X-Fin, Sunquest/Misys, Roche Holdings

MEDUNITE MOVES CLOSER TO ONLINE HEALTH TRANSACTION SERVICES

MEDUNITE INC.’S PLANS TO USE the Internet for claims activity and other transaction services is moving forward.

On January 17, it announced an agreement with Bio-Reference Laboratories, Inc. (BRLI) that will allow physician-subscribers of BRLI’s CareEvolve.comWeb portal to use MedUnite’s transaction services. This includes claims submission, patient eligibility, and claims status inquiry.

Another lab industry vendor working with MedUnite is XFin, Inc., a start-up company based in Carlsbad, California. X-Fin is developing an ASP-based (application service provider) software system for laboratory billing and collections. X-Fin is now implementing this product in its alpha development site, a laboratory in Southern California.

MedUnite survived the dot.com crash. It is a company founded by seven large health insurers, including Aetna, Anthem, CIGNA, Health Net, Oxford, PacifiCare, and WellPoint Health Networks. These companies wanted to protect the transaction-processing side of their business from companies like WebMD (formerly Healtheon).

SUNQUEST GETS ISO-9001 AND A NEW NAME: MISYS HEALTHCARE

IT’S NOT Sunquest Information Systems anymore. Effective on January 23, 2002, the company has a new name.

It’s now called Misys Healthcare Systems. The “new” company was
formed by combining Sunquest with Medic Computer Systems and Home Care Information Systems. Misys PLC is a British company which acquired Sunquest last year. (See TDR, August 13, 2001.)

Misys Information Systems also earned certification for ISO-9001 in January. This makes it one of the few healthcare information companies to have ISO certification. During 2001, Siemens Medical Systems of Malvern, Pennsylvania earned its ISO certification.

GENETICS RESEARCH GENERATING HUGE AMOUNTS OF DATA

IT’S OFTEN BEEN PREDICTED that the sheer volume of lab testing data expected in the future will overwhelm existing data storage capabilities of most labs.

Here’s an insight into that problem. In the January issue of Fast Company magazine, drug researchers at Roche Holdings, the Swiss-based pharmaceutical and diagnostics giant, talked about the problems of managing lab data.

Each sample run on Affymetrix Inc.’s GeneChip generates 60 million bytes of raw data. To analyze that data requires 180 million bytes of data storage. Roche was running 1,000 GeneChip experiments each year in 1999 and 2000. According to Jiay Ding, a Roche researcher, “every six months the IT guys would come to us and say ‘you’ve used up all your storage’.”

It turns out that in Roche’s Nutley, New Jersey facility, 10 researchers working with GeneChips were hogging 90% of the computer capacity designed to support the 300 researchers at that laboratory site!

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