In January, 2011, I wrote a controversial four part expose’ about bone marrow biopsy technology.
The controversy involved two issues. One was how the cost of a BMB system influenced which system was used in a hospital or clinic. The other involved some resistance in the medical community to use a new BMB innovation: the OnControl power driver.
Instead of rehashing all of this, here are links to each of the four posts:
Profit Before Patients: The Conclusion To An Alarming Story About How & Why Doctors, Clinics & Hospitals Purchase Bone Marrow Biospy Systems
So why revisit all of this now? Because there have been several twists and turns to this story.
More and more patients are starting to ask for the OnControl driver. It was used in my last BMB, and it worked as promised. Very little post-procedure pain or bruising. And Medicare has now approved funding for the new device, so now more hospitals and cancer clinics are starting to use the OnControl driver.
But there are still hurdles to jump for Vidacare, the fledgling medical technology company that developed OnControl.
For example, I sat next to a surgical pathologist–the ones that look at biopsies while you are still on the table to see if the surgeon needs to remove more tissue–on my flight back from Boston last weekend.
Her name was Nicole. You can guess that I was like a kid in a candy store, asking her lots of questions about pathology and what she does. Nicole was glad to oblige, answering my questions and interjecting stories about her medical education and experiences.
Half way through our conversation, Nicole mentioned a fabulous new invention that she had used during her surgical rotation. It was a hand-held drill for bone marrow biopsies. She went on and on about how the core samples were cleaner and more complete. Think about it. From a pathologist’s point of view, that would be important, right?
But Nicole concluded her story reminiscing about how the head of the department had refused to allow the OnControl driver to be used in his department. We speculated why, but apparently he never gave a reason. He didn’t have to–he was the head of the department!
Was it that the driver was too new? (a lot of docs don’t like change) Or that it was too expensive to use? We’ll never know.
I just found it fascinating that she would bring up the OnControl driver –unprompted by me–the same week that Vidacare would issue this press release:
Wall Street Journal Recognizes Vidacare Corporation for Second Time:
OnControl® Bone Marrow System Receives
2012 Overall Bronze Technology Innovation Award and
Top Award in the Medical Devices Category
(SAN ANTONIO) – The Wall Street Journal announced the winners of its 2012 Technology Innovation Awards today, and for the second time, Vidacare Corporation has been recognized for its ground-breaking technology. Vidacare’s OnControl® Bone Marrow System is the overall Bronze winner in this year’s Technology Innovation Awards and the winner of the Medical Devices category. Vidacare’s EZ-IO® Intraosseous Infusion System won the overall Gold Technology Innovation of the Year award from the same program in 2008.
In its twelfth annual competition, the Wall Street Journal received over 500 nominations from around the world, with only seven percent receiving recognition from the program. Complete coverage of the 2012 awards can be found in The Wall Street Journal’s three global editions today, as well as online at: www.WSJ.com/Reports.
The OnControl® Bone Marrow System combines a specially-designed needle and powered driver to provide the first significant advance in bone marrow biopsy technology in over 40 years. OnControl is proven to offer high quality, safe, reliable and less painful bone marrow procedures, with consistently better samples, benefitting both patients and clinicians.
“The entire team at Vidacare is thrilled to be recognized for a second time by the Wall Street Journal,” said Mark Mellin, President and Chief Executive Officer of Vidacare Corporation. “Our passion is to help patients in need, and this honor is further acknowledgement that we are succeeding in that endeavor.”
Established in 2001, Vidacare Corporation is the pioneer of a broad technology platform for accessing the intraosseous (inside the bone) space. Current products include the EZ-IO® Intraosseous Infusion System, the OnControl® Bone Marrow System and the OnControl® Bone Access System. Applications include vascular access, emergency and disaster medicine, oncology and spinal surgery. Vidacare’s focus on enhancing clinical efficacy, patient safety and comfort, and reducing complications and their associated costs, has resulted in its devices becoming the recognized technology standard. Privately held, the company is based in San Antonio, Texas, and its products are marketed in over 50 countries worldwide. www.vidacare.com
I would like to make it clear that I do not work for Vidacare. And they have never paid me to represent them. The company did buy several hundred of my first book, Living with Multiple Myeloma, a few years back to distribute to myeloma patients that their field reps would run into from time to time. And I did a book signing for them at ASCO that year.
Habit is part of human nature. It is one of the things that makes it so difficult for innovations in medicine to become new standards of care. I’m sorry, but if I get a choice between someone leaning on me and pressing hard–using what amounts to a corkscrew–or using a fast, clean-cutting power drill, I choose the drill!
I’m going to write tomorrow about why I may need to undergo an unscheduled BMB myself next month. And when I do, I am going to request they use an OnControl driver.
Even though they are full of holes, I have hard bones. The decision is an easy one for me! I’m just glad that Moffitt Cancer Center is using Vidacare’s power driver.
Feel good and keep smiling! Pat