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Posts Tagged ‘Technology’


Cell Therapy Market to Grow Beyond Oncology As Big Pharma Expands Investments

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

Collaborations of Big Pharma with small to mid-segment companies are currently focusing R&D on precision medicine. The market is valued at $2.70 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $8.21 billion in 2025. A varied therapeutic focus and implementation of advanced manufacturing technologies such as single-use bioreactors, will pave a way for unique cell-gene and stem cell – gene combination therapies.
Novartis and Gilead are the first companies to adopt pay for performance business for their CAR-T cell therapies. In addition to innovative pricing models, Pharma companies are also showing a preference for risk sharing and fast-to-market models in order to support the development of novel therapies. Moreover, developments in cell culturing techniques alongside the use of different stem cells such as adipose-derived stem cells, mesenchymal stem cells, and induced pluripotent stem cell will reinforce the market with superior treatment options for non-oncological conditions such as neurological, musculoskeletal, and dermatological conditions.

With the high request for cell therapies, numerous growth opportunities can occur such as:

  • With more than 959 ongoing regenerative medicine clinical trials, the market finds opportunity across both stem cell and non-stem cell-based therapies.
  • Curative combination therapies which help find application in identifying the right patient as well as predicting the immune response in cancer patients.
  • Implementation of IT solutions and single-use manufacturing techniques for optimizing small-volume, high-value manufacturing of novel cell therapies, thus dropping the time to market radically.
  • Emerging Business Models which aid market players focus on academic and research collaborations together with industry collaborations to support therapeutic and technological innovations.

Source

https://www.newswire.ca/news-releases/cell-therapy-market-to-grow-beyond-oncology-as-big-pharma-expands-investments-826628110.html

 

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Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

From The Wall Street Journal (www.wsj.com)

Published January 9, 2019

Health-Care CEOs Outline Strategies at J.P. Morgan Conference

Chiefs at Johnson & Johnson, CVS discuss what’s next on a range of industry issues

One of the biggest health conferences of the year for investors, the J.P. Morgan Health-Care Conference, is taking place this week in San Francisco. Here are some of the hot topics covered at the four-day event, which wraps up Thursday.

BioMarin Mulls Payment Plans

BioMarin Pharmaceutical Inc. CEO Jean-Jacques Bienaimé said he would consider pursuing installment payment arrangements for the biotech’s experimental gene therapy for hemophilia. At the conference, Mr. Bienaimé told the Wall Street Journal that the one-time infusion, Valrox, is likely to cost in the millions because studies have shown it can eliminate bleeding episodes in patients, and current hemophilia treatments taken chronically can cost millions over several years. “We’re not trying to charge more than existing therapies,” he said. “We want to offer a better treatment at the same or lower cost.”

Johnson & Johnson Warns on Pricing

As politicians hammer drug prices, Johnson & Johnson CEO Alex Gorsky suggested companies need to police themselves. At the conference, Mr. Gorsky told investors that drug companies should price drugs reasonably and be transparent. “If we don’t do this as an industry, I think there will be other alternatives that will be more onerous for us,” Mr. Gorsky says. Some drugmakers pulled back from price increases in mid-2018 amid heightened political scrutiny, but prices went up for many drugs at the start of 2019.

Marijuana-Derived Drugs Show Promise

 

CVS Discusses New Stores

CVS Health Corp. Chief Executive Larry Merlo began showing initial concepts the company will be testing as it begins piloting new models of its drugstores that incorporate its Aetna combination. The first new test store will open next month in Houston, he told investors, and it will include expanded health-care services including a new concierge who will help patients with questions. 

Aetna Savings On the Way

Mr. Merlo also spelled out when the company will achieve the initial $750 million in synergies it has promised from the CVS-Aetna deal. In the first quarter, he said the company will see benefits from consolidating corporate functions. Savings from procurement and aligning lists of covered drugs should be seen in the first half, he says. Medical-cost savings will start affecting results toward the end of the year, he noted. 

Lilly Cuts Price

Drugmaker Eli Lilly & Co. expects average net US pricing for its drugs–after rebates and discounts–to decline in the low- to mid-single digits on a percentage basis this year, Chief Financial Officer Josh Smiley told the Journal. Lilly’s net prices had risen during the first half of 2018, but dropped in the third quarter as the company took a “restrained approach,” Mr. Smiley said. Lilly, which hasn’t yet reported fourth-quarter results, took some list price increases for cancer drugs in late December but hasn’t raised prices in the new year, he said.

Peter Loftus at peter.loftus@wsj.com and Anna Wilde Mathews at anna.mathews@wsj.com

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#JPM19 Conference: Lilly Announces Agreement To Acquire Loxo Oncology

Reporter: Gail S. Thornton

 

News announced during the 37th J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference (#JPM19): Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Company announced its plans to acquire Loxo for $8 billion, as part of its oncology strategy, which focuses  “opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies.”   

 

Please read their press release below.


INDIANAPOLIS and STAMFORD, Conn.Jan. 7, 2019 /PRNewswire/ —

  • Acquisition will broaden the scope of Lilly’s oncology portfolio into precision medicines through the addition of a marketed therapy and a pipeline of highly selective potential medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers.
  • Loxo Oncology’s pipeline includes LOXO-292, an oral RET inhibitor being studied across multiple tumor types, which recently was granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA and could launch in 2020.
  • Loxo Oncology’s Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib) is an oral TRK inhibitor developed and commercialized in collaboration with Bayer that was recently approved by the FDA.
  • Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology for a purchase price of$235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion.
  • Lilly will conduct a conference call with the investment community and media today at 8:45 a.m. EST.

Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) and Loxo Oncology, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOXO) today announced a definitive agreement for Lilly to acquire Loxo Oncology for $235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion. Loxo Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of highly selective medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers.

The acquisition would be the largest and latest in a series of transactions Lilly has conducted to broaden its cancer treatment efforts with externally sourced opportunities for first-in-class and best-in-class therapies. Loxo Oncology is developing a pipeline of targeted medicines focused on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities that can be detected by genomic testing.  For patients with cancers that harbor these genomic alterations, a targeted medicine could have the potential to treat the cancer with dramatic effect.

Loxo Oncology has a promising portfolio of approved and investigational medicines, including:

  • LOXO-292, a first-in-class oral RET inhibitor that has been granted Breakthrough Therapy designation by the FDA for three indications, with an initial potential launch in 2020.  LOXO-292 targets cancers with alterations to the rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase. RET fusions and mutations occur across multiple tumor types, including certain lung and thyroid cancers as well as a subset of other cancers.
  • LOXO-305, an oral BTK inhibitor currently in Phase 1/2. LOXO-305 targets cancers with alterations to the Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK), and is designed to address acquired resistance to currently available BTK inhibitors. BTK is a validated molecular target found across numerous B-cell leukemias and lymphomas.
  • Vitrakvi, a first-in-class oral TRK inhibitor developed and commercialized in collaboration with Bayer that was recently approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Vitrakvi is the first treatment that targets a specific genetic abnormality to receive a tumor-agnostic indication at the time of initial FDA approval.
  • LOXO-195, a follow-on TRK inhibitor also being studied by Loxo Oncology and Bayer for acquired resistance to TRK inhibition, with a potential launch in 2022.

“Using tailored medicines to target key tumor dependencies offers an increasingly robust approach to cancer treatment,” said Daniel Skovronsky, M.D., Ph.D., Lilly’s chief scientific officer and president of Lilly Research Laboratories. “Loxo Oncology’s portfolio of RET, BTK and TRK inhibitors targeted specifically to patients with mutations or fusions in these genes, in combination with advanced diagnostics that allow us to know exactly which patients may benefit, creates new opportunities to improve the lives of people with advanced cancer.”

“We are gratified that Lilly has recognized our contributions to the field of precision medicine and are excited to see our pipeline benefit from the resources and global reach of the Lilly organization,” said Josh Bilenker, M.D., chief executive officer of Loxo Oncology. “Tumor genomic profiling is becoming standard-of-care, and it will be critical to continue innovating against new targets, while anticipating mechanisms of resistance to available therapies, so that patients with advanced cancer have the chance to live longer and better lives.”

“Lilly Oncology is committed to developing innovative, breakthrough medicines that will make a meaningful difference for people with cancer and help them live longer, healthier lives,” said Anne White, president of Lilly Oncology. “The acquisition of Loxo Oncology represents an exciting and immediate opportunity to expand the breadth of our portfolio into precision medicines and target cancers that are caused by specific gene abnormalities. The ability to target tumor dependencies in these populations is a key part of our Lilly Oncology strategy. We look forward to continuing to advance the pioneering scientific innovation begun by Loxo Oncology.”

“We are excited to have reached this agreement with a team that shares our commitment to ensuring that emerging translational science reaches patients in need,” said Jacob Van Naarden, chief operating officer of Loxo Oncology. “We are confident that the work we have started, which includes an FDA approved drug, and a pipeline spanning from Phase 2 to discovery, will continue to thrive in Lilly’s hands.”

Under the terms of the agreement, Lilly will commence a tender offer to acquire all outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology for a purchase price of $235.00 per share in cash, or approximately $8.0 billion. The transaction is not subject to any financing condition and is expected to close by the end of the first quarter of 2019, subject to customary closing conditions, including receipt of required regulatory approvals and the tender of a majority of the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology’s common stock. Following the successful closing of the tender offer, Lilly will acquire any shares of Loxo Oncology that are not tendered into the tender offer through a second-step merger at the tender offer price.

The tender offer represents a premium of approximately 68 percent to Loxo Oncology’s closing stock price on January 4, 2019, the last trading day before the announcement of the transaction. Loxo Oncology’s board recommends that Loxo Oncology’s shareholders tender their shares in the tender offer.  Additionally, a Loxo Oncology shareholder, beneficially owning approximately 6.6 percent of Loxo Oncology’s outstanding common stock, has agreed to tender its shares in the tender offer.

This transaction will be reflected in Lilly’s financial results and financial guidance according to Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP). Lilly will provide an update to its 2019 financial guidance, including the expected impact from the acquisition of Loxo Oncology, as part of its fourth-quarter and full-year 2018 financial results announcement on February 13, 2019.

For Lilly, Deutsche Bank is acting as the exclusive financial advisor and Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP is acting as legal advisor in this transaction. For Loxo Oncology, Goldman Sachs & Co. LLC is acting as exclusive financial advisor and Fenwick & West LLP is acting as legal advisor.

Conference Call and Webcast
Lilly will conduct a conference call with the investment community and media today at 8:45 a.m. EST to discuss the acquisition of Loxo Oncology.  Investors, media and the general public can access a live webcast of the conference call through the Webcasts & Presentations link that will be posted on Lilly’s website at www.lilly.com.  The webcast of the conference call will be available for replay through February 7, 2019.

About LOXO-292
LOXO-292 is an oral and selective investigational new drug in clinical development for the treatment of patients with cancers that harbor abnormalities in the rearranged during transfection (RET) kinase. RET fusions and mutations occur across multiple tumor types with varying frequency. LOXO-292 was designed to inhibit native RET signaling as well as anticipated acquired resistance mechanisms that could otherwise limit the activity of this therapeutic approach. LOXO-292 has been granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. FDA for three indications, and could launch as early as 2020.

About LOXO-305
LOXO-305 is an investigational, highly selective non-covalent Bruton’s tyrosine kinase (BTK) inhibitor. BTK plays a key role in the B-cell antigen receptor signaling pathway, which is required for the development, activation and survival of normal white blood cells, known as B-cells, and malignant B-cells. BTK is a validated molecular target found across numerous B-cell leukemias and lymphomas including chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, mantle cell lymphoma and marginal zone lymphoma.

About Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib)
Vitrakvi is an oral TRK inhibitor for the treatment of adult and pediatric patients with solid tumors with a neurotrophic receptor tyrosine kinase (NTRK) gene fusion without a known acquired resistance mutation that are either metastatic or where surgical resection will likely result in severe morbidity, and have no satisfactory alternative treatments or have progressed following treatment. This indication is approved under accelerated approval based on overall response rate and duration of response. Continued approval for this indication may be contingent upon verification and description of clinical benefit in confirmatory trials.

About LOXO-195
LOXO-195 is a selective TRK inhibitor that is being investigated to address potential mechanisms of acquired resistance that may emerge in patients receiving Vitrakvi® (larotrectinib) or other multikinase inhibitors with anti-TRK activity.

About Eli Lilly and Company
Lilly is a global healthcare leader that unites caring with discovery to create medicines that make life better for people around the world. We were founded more than a century ago by a man committed to creating high-quality medicines that meet real needs, and today we remain true to that mission in all our work. Across the globe, Lilly employees work to discover and bring life-changing medicines to those who need them, improve the understanding and management of disease, and give back to communities through philanthropy and volunteerism. To learn more about Lilly, please visit us at www.lilly.com and www.lilly.com/newsroom/social-channels. C-LLY

About Loxo Oncology
Loxo Oncology is a biopharmaceutical company focused on the development and commercialization of highly selective medicines for patients with genomically defined cancers. Our pipeline focuses on cancers that are uniquely dependent on single gene abnormalities, such that a single drug has the potential to treat the cancer with dramatic effect. We believe that the most selective, purpose-built medicines have the highest probability of maximally inhibiting the intended target, with the intention of delivering best-in-class disease control and safety. Our management team seeks out experienced industry partners, world-class scientific advisors and innovative clinical-regulatory approaches to deliver new cancer therapies to patients as quickly and efficiently as possible. For more information, please visit the company’s website at http://www.loxooncology.com.

Lilly Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains forward-looking statements about the benefits of Lilly’s acquisition of Loxo Oncology, Inc. (“Loxo Oncology”). It reflects Lillys current beliefs; however, as with any such undertaking, there are substantial risks and uncertainties in implementing the transaction and in drug developmentAmong other things, there can be no guarantee that the transaction will be completed in the anticipated timeframe, or at all, or that the conditions required to complete the transaction will be met, that Lilly will realize the expected benefits of the transaction, that the molecules will be approved on the anticipated timeline or at all, or that the potential products will be commercially successful. For further discussion of these and other risks and uncertainties, see Lillys most recent Form 10-K and Form 10-Q filings with the United States Securities and Exchange Commission (“the SEC”). Lilly will provide an update to certain elements of its 2019 financial guidance as part of its fourth quarter and full-year 2018 financial results announcement. Except as required by law, Lilly undertakes no duty to update forward-looking statements to reflect events after the date of this release.

Loxo Oncology Cautionary Statement Regarding Forward-Looking Statements

This press release contains “forward-looking statements” relating to the acquisition of Loxo Oncology by Lilly. Such forward-looking statements include the ability of Loxo Oncology and Lilly to complete the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement, including the parties’ ability to satisfy the conditions to the consummation of the offer and the other conditions set forth in the merger agreement and the possibility of any termination of the merger agreement, as well as the role of targeted genomics and diagnostics in oncology treatment and acceleration of our work in developing medicines. Such forward-looking statements are based upon current expectations that involve risks, changes in circumstances, assumptions and uncertainties. Actual results may differ materially from current expectations because of risks associated with uncertainties as to the timing of the offer and the subsequent merger; uncertainties as to how many of Loxo Oncology’s stockholders will tender their shares in the offer; the risk that competing offers or acquisition proposals will be made; the possibility that various conditions to the consummation of the offer or the merger may not be satisfied or waived; the effects of disruption from the transactions contemplated by the merger agreement on Loxo Oncology’s business and the fact that the announcement and pendency of the transactions may make it more difficult to establish or maintain relationships with employees, suppliers and other business partners; the risk that stockholder litigation in connection with the offer or the merger may result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; other uncertainties pertaining to the business of Loxo Oncology, including those set forth in the “Risk Factors” and “Management’s Discussion and Analysis of Financial Condition and Results of Operations” sections of Loxo Oncology’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2017, which is on file with the SEC and available on the SEC’s website at www.sec.gov. Additional factors may be set forth in those sections of Loxo Oncology’s Quarterly Report on Form 10-Q for the quarter endedSeptember 30, 2018, filed with the SEC in the fourth quarter of 2018.  In addition to the risks described above and in Loxo Oncology’s other filings with the SEC, other unknown or unpredictable factors could also affect Loxo Oncology’s results. No forward-looking statements can be guaranteed and actual results may differ materially from such statements. The information contained in this press release is provided only as of the date of this report, and Loxo Oncology undertakes no obligation to update any forward-looking statements either contained in or incorporated by reference into this report on account of new information, future events, or otherwise, except as required by law.

Additional Information about the Acquisition and Where to Find It

The tender offer for the outstanding shares of Loxo Oncology referenced in this communication has not yet commenced. This announcement is for informational purposes only and is neither an offer to purchase nor a solicitation of an offer to sell shares of Loxo Oncology, nor is it a substitute for the tender offer materials that Lilly and its acquisition subsidiary will file with the SEC upon commencement of the tender offer. At the time the tender offer is commenced, Lilly and its acquisition subsidiary will file tender offer materials on Schedule TO, and Loxo Oncology will file a Solicitation/Recommendation Statement on Schedule 14D-9 with the SEC with respect to the tender offer. THE TENDER OFFER MATERIALS (INCLUDING AN OFFER TO PURCHASE, A RELATED LETTER OF TRANSMITTAL AND CERTAIN OTHER TENDER OFFER DOCUMENTS) AND THE SOLICITATION/RECOMMENDATION STATEMENT WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION. HOLDERS OF SHARES OF LOXO ONCOLOGY ARE URGED TO READ THESE DOCUMENTS CAREFULLY WHEN THEY BECOME AVAILABLE (AS EACH MAY BE AMENDED OR SUPPLEMENTED FROM TIME TO TIME) BECAUSE THEY WILL CONTAIN IMPORTANT INFORMATION THAT HOLDERS OF LOXO ONCOLOGY SECURITIES SHOULD CONSIDER BEFORE MAKING ANY DECISION REGARDING TENDERING THEIR SECURITIES. The Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, will be made available to all holders of shares of Loxo Oncology at no expense to them. The tender offer materials and the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement will be made available for free at the SEC’s web site at www.sec.gov

In addition to the Offer to Purchase, the related Letter of Transmittal and certain other tender offer documents, as well as the Solicitation/Recommendation Statement, Lilly and Loxo Oncology file annual, quarterly and special reports and other information with the SEC.  You may read and copy any reports or other information filed by Lilly or Loxo Oncology at the SEC public reference room at 100 F Street, N.E., Washington, D.C. 20549. Please call the Commission at 1-800-SEC-0330 for further information on the public reference room.  Lilly’s and Loxo Oncology’s filings with the SEC are also available to the public from commercial document-retrieval services and at the website maintained by the SEC at www.sec.gov.

SOURCE

Eli Lilly and Company – https://www.lilly.com

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

2017

FDA has approved the world’s first CAR-T therapy, Novartis for Kymriah (tisagenlecleucel) and Gilead’s $12 billion buy of Kite Pharma, no approved drug and Canakinumab for Lung Cancer (may be?)

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/08/30/fda-has-approved-the-worlds-first-car-t-therapy-novartis-for-kymriah-tisagenlecleucel-and-gileads-12-billion-buy-of-kite-pharma-no-approved-drug-and-canakinumab-for-lung-cancer-may-be/

2016

Pioneers of Cancer Cell Therapy:  Turbocharging the Immune System to Battle Cancer Cells — Success in Hematological Cancers vs. Solid Tumors

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/08/19/pioneers-of-cancer-cell-therapy-turbocharging-the-immune-system-to-battle-cancer-cells-success-in-hematological-cancers-vs-solid-tumors/

2015

Personalized Medicine – The California Initiative

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/12/personalized-medicine/

2013

Volume One: Genomics Orientations for Personalized Medicine

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/biomed-e-books/genomics-orientations-for-personalized-medicine/volume-one-genomics-orientations-for-personalized-medicine/

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  • More than 77 percent of patients in the REMfresh® Patient Reported Outcomes DURation (REMDUR) study reported achieving 6 or more hours of sleep after taking REMfresh®, the first continuous release and absorption melatonin (CRA-melatonin)
  • More than 91 percent experienced improvements in sleep onset, sleep maintenance and total sleep quality, after taking REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin)
  • Post-marketing, patient-reported outcomes data reinforces clinical trial evidence demonstrating the potential of non-prescription REMfresh®, as a new, non-prescription, drug-free hypnotic (sleep) product designed to achieve 7-hour sleep
  • New data confirms previously presented SLEEP 2017 study showing the patented Ion Powered Pump (IPP) technology in REMfresh® helps extend melatonin-targeted sleep maintenance levels in the body from 3.7 hours (with marketed immediate-release melatonin) to 6.7 hours, while mimicking the pattern of the body’s natural melatonin blood levels during the nightly sleep cycle

Real Time Coverage at SLEEP 2018 meeting, Baltimore.

Reporters: Aviva Lev-Ari, PhD, RN, and Gail S. Thornton, MA

BALTIMORE – (June 6, 2018) – A patient-reported outcomes study presented at SLEEP 2018 provides confirmatory real-world evidence of the previously peer-reviewed and presented data showing the 7-hour action of REMfresh®, a new product for sleep. REMfresh® Ion-Powered Melatoninis the first and only, continuous release and absorption melatonin (CRA-melatonin) to mimic the body’s own 7-hour Mesa Wave, the natural pattern of melatonin blood levels during a normal night’s sleep cycle. This induces sleep onset and provides lasting and restorative sleep for up to 7 hours.

This new data shows a correlative relationship between a 7-hour Mesa Wave pharmacokinetic (PK) profile and real-world evidence of improvements in sleep duration, onset, maintenance and sleep quality after taking REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin).

The post-marketing REMfresh® Patient Reported Outcomes DURation (REMDUR) study was presented at SLEEP 2018, the 32nd Annual Meeting of the Associated Professional Sleep Societies (APSS), LLC, a joint partnership of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM) and the Sleep Research Society (SRS).

 

Brodner and Seiden

Pictured here is David C. Brodner, M.D., and David J. Seiden, M.D., FAASM, after presenting the latest study data which found REMfresh is the first and only continuous release and absorption melatonin™ to mimic the body’s own 7-hour Mesa Wave™.

 

In a sample of 500 patients on REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) responding to an online survey, 77.6 percent achieved 6 or more hours of sleep compared to 23.6 percent who slept that duration prior to taking REMfresh® (p<.0001). A vast majority of respondents also reported a major or moderate improvement in sleep onset (91.6 percent, p<.0001), sleep maintenance (94.8 percent, p<.0001) and total sleep quality (97.2 percent, p<.0001). More than three-quarters (76.6 percent) of patients indicated they take REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) nightly. The proportion of patients reporting nightly CRA-melatonin use was significantly greater than the proportion of patients with less than nightly use (p<.0001). Most importantly, over 98 percent of patients reported they were very likely or likely to continue taking REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) to treat their sleep complaints.

“The real-world evidence reported today in REMDUR provides further confirmation that REMfresh® represents a significant advance in the use of melatonin as a baseline therapy for treating sleep complaints,” said David C. Brodner, M.D., a leading sleep specialist who is Double Board-Certified in Otolaryngology — Head and Neck Surgery and Sleep Medicine, founder and principle Physician at the Center for Sinus, Allergy, and Sleep Wellness, in Palm Beach County, Florida, and Senior Medical Advisor for Physician’s Seal, LLC®.

“REMfresh® Ion-Powered Melatoninhas been shown to be an effective drug-free solution that is now available to the millions of Americans in need of a good night’s sleep, many of whom seek new therapies that will induce sleep and keep them asleep until the morning, without causing residual effects they’ll feel the next day. With its unique delivery system that imitates the body’s own natural sleep pattern, REMfresh® has revolutionized the role of melatonin, when delivered in the CRA form. It is no longer just a treatment for jet lag, but the CRA-melatonin found in REMfresh® has been shown to provide substantial relief to individuals having nightly sleep challenges,” said Dr. Brodner.

The scientifically advanced, patented delivery system in REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin), called Ion Powered Pump (IPP™) technology, replicates the way in which the body naturally releases and absorbs melatonin, unlike conventional melatonin sleep products. Since REMfresh® is not a drug, there is no drug hangover.

Nearly one-third of U.S. adults sleep less than the recommended seven hours daily.[1],[2] Increasing evidence suggests an association between sub-optimal sleep duration and adverse health outcomes including a higher risk of diabetes, hypertension, heart attack, stroke, obesity and depression.[3] A pooled analysis of 16 studies and over one million patients found short sleep duration corresponded with greater risk of morbidity and mortality.[4]

 REMDUR Study Design

The post-marketing REMfresh® Patient Reported Outcomes DURation (REMDUR) study was designed to obtain real-world evidence about patients’ sleep patterns, duration of sleep before and after REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin), daily REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) use, onset of action, sleep maintenance, quality of sleep, and overall satisfaction with REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin).

Patients with sleep disturbances in the general population who received a sample of CRA-melatonin (REMfresh®) from their physicians were invited to complete a 12-question survey. Survey responses were received from 500 patients.

Confirmation of the REMAKT Clinical Study

REMDUR confirmed clinical trial findings from REMAKT (REM Absorption Kinetics Trial), a U.S.-based randomized, crossover pharmacokinetic (PK) evaluation study in healthy, non-smoking adults that compared REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) with a market-leading, immediate-release melatonin (IR-melatonin).[5]

The study results, peer-reviewed and presented last year at SLEEP 2017, showed that melatonin levels with REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) exceeded the targeted sleep maintenance threshold for a median of 6.7 hours, compared with 3.7 hours with the leading IR-melatonin. Conversely, the levels of the market-leading IR-melatonin formulation dramatically increased 23 times greater than the targeted levels of exogenous melatonin for sleep maintenance and had a rapid decline in serum levels that did not allow melatonin levels to be maintained beyond 4 hours.

The REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) studies build upon the body of evidence from prolonged-release melatonin (PR-M), marketed in Europe, which demonstrated in well-conducted, placebo-controlled studies, statistically significant improvement in sleep quality, morning alertness, sleep latency and quality of life in patients aged 55 years and older compared with placebo. REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) was designed to overcome the challenges of absorption in the intestines, thereby extending the continual and gradual release pattern of melatonin through the night (known as the Mesa Wave, a flat-topped hill with steep sides). There was a fast time to Cmax, which is anticipated to result in improved sleep onset, while the extended median plateau time to 6.7 hours and rapid fall-off in plasma levels at the end of the Mesa Wave, may help to improve sleep maintenance and morning alertness.

Conventional melatonin products have had challenges at mimicking the profile of a Mesa Wave™. The scientific work behind REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) sought to overcome these challenges by having the melatonin formulation in a matrix that maintains a patented, solubility-enhancing pH environment to help with the transport to the brush border of the gut and its subsequent absorption.

Designed as a hydrogel matrix tablet, REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) provides rapid release of the melatonin from the surface of the tablet, as the hydrogel release-controlling matrix is setting up in the acidic environment (pH of 1 to 3.5) in the stomach. As the tablet moves into the higher pH (5.5 to 6.5) environment of the small-intestine, which is above the pKa of melatonin (~4.0), the acidic moiety in the tablet is designed to maintain the pH within the tablet below 4.0 for 7+ hours. The hydrogel matrix, after proper hydration, allows continuous release of the active melatonin and acidic moiety into the lumen of the intestines.

Melatonin: The Body’s Natural Sleep Ingredient

Melatonin is produced by the pineal gland in the brain and is the body’s natural sleep ingredient. Melatonin levels normally begin to rise in the mid-to late evening and remain high for the majority of the night. Levels begin to decline towards early morning, as the body’s wake cycle is triggered. As people age, melatonin levels can drop by as much as 70 percent[6] and their bodies may no longer produce enough melatonin to ensure adequate sleep.

Other available products, such as immediate-release melatonin, help initiate the onset of sleep but are usually unable to sustain prolonged sleep maintenance due to an immediate burst of melatonin, which is quickly degraded due to its relatively short half-life (60 minutes). Absorption in the lower digestive tract is limited by melatonin’s limited ability to be absorbed in a low acidity or neutral pH environment.

Importance of Sleep

Sleep is an essential part of every person’s life. The body requires a certain amount of sleep in order to properly rest, repair and renew itself. Sleep is customarily divided in four different stages, with each stage having a different effect. These four stages are:

N1, N2, deep sleep and REM sleep. The body moves among these four stages several times while asleep. If sleep is disrupted for any reason, a person’s body may not have a chance to properly restore itself, especially if it is struggling to get to the later stages, called deep sleep and REM sleep. Studies have shown that sound and sufficient sleep is important for learning, memory and a healthy immune system. A regular pattern of deep sleep and REM sleep will help a person begin the next day feeling refreshed and ready to go.

About Non-Prescription REMfresh®

REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) is the first and only, continuous release and absorption formulation of UltraMel® melatonin (available as 2 mg and 5 mg and with a 0.5 mg anticipated in the second half of 2018). UltraMel® melatonin is a high-quality, 99 percent ultra-pure melatonin sourced from Western Europe exclusively for Physician’s Seal®.

REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) is a dietary supplement and is regulated under the Federal Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act, which does not require pre-approval. Melatonin has been in common use for over two decades and has a well-established profile of safe use by millions of people around the world. As with all supplements, individual results may vary.

REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) is non-habit forming and does not contain narcotics, hypnotics, barbiturates, sedatives, antihistamines, alcohol or other harsh or additive chemicals. The usual adult recommended dose is 1-2 tablets 30-60 minutes before bedtime. Follow specific dosing instructions found on the back of the box for proper use of supplements.

REMfresh® (CRA-melatonin) is available at Walmart, Rite Aid and CVS/pharmacy. In 2017 REMfresh® was ranked as  the #1 recommended brand for sleep management by sleep doctors[7].

About Physician’s Seal®

Physician’s Seal® is the innovator of REMfresh®, the first and only continuous release and absorption, 99 percent ultra-pure melatonin (CRA-melatonin) that mimics the way the body naturally releases and maintains melatonin over a 7-hour period. Physician’s Seal®, founded in 2015, is a privately held company based in Boca Raton, Florida. It is committed to bringing cutting-edge life science applications to doctors and their patients. For more information, visit www.remfresh.com and connect with us on Facebook and You Tube.

Its sister subsidiary, IM HealthScience® (IMH) is the innovator of IBgard® and FDgard® for the dietary management of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS) and Functional Dyspepsia (FD), respectively. In 2017, IMH added Fiber Choice®, a line of prebiotic fibers, to its product line via an acquisition. IMH® is a privately held company based in Boca Raton, Florida. It was founded in 2010 by a team of highly experienced pharmaceutical research and development and management executives. The company is dedicated to developing products to address overall health and wellness, including conditions with a high unmet medical need, such as digestive health. The IM HealthScience® advantage comes from developing products based on its patented, targeted-delivery technologies called Site Specific Targeting® (SST®). For more information, visit www.imhealthscience.com to learn about the company, or www.IBgard.com,  www.FDgard.com,and www.FiberChoice.com.

This information is for educational purposes only and is not meant to be a substitute for the advice of a physician or other health care professional. You should not use this information for diagnosing a health problem or disease. The company will strive to keep information current and consistent but may not be able to do so at any specific time. Generally, the most current information can be found on www.remfresh.com. Individual results may vary.

Data Presented at SLEEP 2018 Poster Session on Sleep Maintenance/Sleep Quality

Tuesday, June 5, 2018, 5-7pm

  • (Abstract 0419, Poster Board #104) Improvement in Sleep Maintenance and Sleep Quality with Ion Powered Pump Continuous Release and Absorption Melatonin: Results from a Self-Reported Patient Outcomes Study
    • David J. Seiden, M.D., FAASM, David C. Brodner, M.D., Syed M. Shah, Ph.D.

Visit Physician’s Seal® at booth 220 to learn more about REMfresh®.

The abstract is published in an online supplement of the journal, Sleep, which is available at http://www.sleepmeeting.org/docs/default-source/default-document-library/abstractbook2018.pdf?sfvrsn=2

[1] Ford, E.S., Cunningham, T.J., & Croft, J.B. (2015, May 1). Trends in Self-Reported Sleep Duration among US Adults from 1985 to 2012. Sleep, 38(5):829-832. doi: 10.5665/sleep.4684.

[2] Watson, N.F., Badr, M.S., Belenky, G., Bliwise, D.L., Buxton, G.M., Buysse, D.,…Tasali, E. (2015). Joint Consensus Statement of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research Society on the Recommended Amount of Sleep for a Healthy Adult: Methodology and Discussion. Journal of Clinical Sleep Medicine, 11(8):931-952. doi:10.1176/appi.ajp.158.11.1856.

[3] Colten, H.R., & Altevogt, B.M. (Eds). (2006). Sleep Disorders and Sleep Deprivation: An Unmet Public Health Problem.  Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. Washington, DC: National Academies Press (US). doi: https://doi.org/10.17226/11617.

[4] Cappuccio, F.P., D’Elia, L., Strazzullo, P.,&  Miller, M.A. (2010). Sleep duration and all-cause mortality: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective studies. Sleep, 33(5):585-592

[5] For this clinical trial, the head-to-head comparison was with the 5 mg form; a 2 mg form of the comparator was not available.

[6] Zisapel, N. (2010). Melatonin and sleep. The Open Neuroendocrinology Journal, 3: 85-95.

[7] Among primary care physicians with a certification in sleep disorders who recommended a brand of modified-release melatonin. Quintiles IMS ProVoice July-September 2017 survey.

REFERENCE/SOURCE

Physician’s Seal® and REMfresh® (www.remfresh.com)

Dr. David C. Brodner, Center for Sinus, Allergy, and Sleep Wellness (http://www.brodnermd.com/sleep-hygiene.html)

Other related articles published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

2017

Ultra-Pure Melatonin Product Helps Maintain Sleep for Up to 7 Hours

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2017/06/11/ultra-pure-melatonin-product-helps-maintain-sleep-for-up-to-7-hours/

2016

Sleep Science

Genetic link to sleep and mood disorders

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/02/27/genetic-link-to-sleep-and-mood-disorders/

2015

Sleep quality, amyloid and cognitive decline

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/31/sleep-quality-amyloid-and-cognitive-decline/

2013

Day and Night Variation in Melatonin Level affects Plasma Membrane Redox System in Red Blood Cells

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/02/23/httpwww-ncbi-nlm-nih-govpubmed22561555/

 

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3D Printing Technique with Non-Contact Ultrasonic Manipulation Technology

Reporter: Irina Robu, PhD

The 3D printer we think more frequently in combination with PCBs is the DragonFly 2020 from Nano Dimension which works with different with all kinds of materials in addition to PCBs as they are a great 3D printing player in electronic space.

The Ultrasound Research group at Neurotechnology (http://www.neurotechnology.com) has proclaimed a new 3D printing method using ultrasonic manipulation which are totally hands off and non-contact tech behind it, permitting for the handling of parts and particles down to submillimeter range without causing damage to sensitive components. According to the project lead for Neurotechnology Ultrasound Research Group, Dr. Osvaldas Putkis, “Ultrasonic manipulation can handle a very large range of different materials, including metals, plastics and even liquids. Not only can it manipulate material particles, it can also handle components of various shapes. Other non-contact methods, like the ones based on magnetic or electrostatic forces, can’t offer such versatility”.

Since the work from the Ultrasound Research Group embodies a new technological application, Neurotechnology has filed a patent on their system. Neurotechnology describes ultrasonic manipulation as a “non-contact material handling method which uses ultrasonic waves to trap and move small particles and components.”  It is well known that ultrasonic manipulation of particles exploits the acoustic radiation force to deliver a contactless handling method for particles suspended in a fluid. In an ultrasonic standing wave field, the viscous torque induces the rotation of an object. Alongside the translation of particles due to the acoustic radiation force an additional controlled degree of rotation is obtainable. Consequently, there is a growing interest in spreading the field of application of ultrasonic particle manipulation to the deposition of micro and nanowires and for the assembly of micro objects.

Ultrasonic transducers are arranged in an array used to position electronic components in the creation of a PCB, utilizing a camera to detect accurate positioning. Continuing on with the hands-off theme, a laser solders the PCB components after their non-contact manipulation into placement. 3D printing and PCB manufacture are increasingly coming together, as advanced technologies benefit the creation of devices in electronics, including via 3D printed workstations for PCBs.

Even though their method works with all types of materials, we expect to see further applications beyond PCB assembly.

Source

https://3dprint.com/179097/neurotechnology-ultrasonic-3dp/

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Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland – A World-Class Clinic for Spinal Cord Injuries

Author: Gail S. Thornton, M.A.

Co-Editor: The VOICES of Patients, Hospital CEOs, HealthCare Providers, Caregivers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures

 

The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC, www.paraplegie.ch) in Nottwil, Switzerland, is a privately owned, leading acute care and specialist hospital employing more than 1,500 health professionals in 80 different occupations that focuses on world-class primary care and comprehensive rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries. In addition to the SPC’s extensive range of medical and therapeutic care, treatment and services, the hospital offers advisory services, as well as research in the areas of paraplegia [paralysis of the legs and lower body, typically caused by spinal injury or disease], tetraplegia [also known as quadriplegia, paralysis caused by illness or injury that results in the partial or total loss of use of all four limbs and torso], prevention and related conditions. With 150 beds, the SPC provides modern facilities for rehabilitation and therapy, diagnostics, surgery, ongoing care, orthopedic technology, as well as social services and 24-hour emergency care.

In its 26-year history, the SPC has provided treatment and care to more than 20,000 in-patients. That number continues to grow exponentially due to the reputation of the SPC. In fact, the SPC’s staff performs their duties with effectiveness, expediency and cost-efficiency measures, requiring highly developed process-led medicine, centered around the needs of the patient.

The areas of medical specialty and centers of excellence include the Swiss Paraplegic Centre (SPC), the Swiss Spinal Column and Spinal Cord Centre (SWRZ), the Centre for Pain Medicine (ZSM) and the Swiss Olympic Medical Center (SOMC). These centers respectively offer patients cutting-edge medical treatment based on the most advanced research in areas covering treatment and rehabilitation cases of acute paraplegia, vertebral and spinal cord surgery, as well as services relating to pain management, sports medicine and preventive health checks.

Alongside the core focus on paraplegiology, the SPC is also equipped with the necessary medical facilities, allowing for the lifelong care of paraplegic patients. The SPC provides individually-tailored, comprehensive treatment in three phases (acute, reactivation and integration) using highly skilled staff and state-of-the-art equipment. The aim is always to re-establish a patient’s personal functionality, self-image and lifestyle to the fullest possible extent, with a holistic approach to treatment that includes mental, physical and psycho-social aspects, such as career, family and leisure activities.

Specialist services available at the SPC include amongst others orthopedics, neuro-urology, pain medicine, sports medicine, prevention, clinical research, emergency medicine, vehicle conversion and rehabilitation techniques. Medico-therapeutic treatments, such as physiotherapy, ergotherapy and training therapy are available, alongside advice and counseling services, such as professional reintegration.

The SPC is the largest of Switzerland’s four special hospitals for paraplegics and tetraplegics located in Nottwil/Lucerne, a town in central Switzerland on the shores of Lake Sempach. The other three facilities are in Basel, Sion and Zurich. Nowadays, the SPC consistently treats more than 60 percent of people with spinal cord injury in Switzerland and is fully occupied year-round. 

Image SOURCE: Photographs courtesy of Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland.  Interior and exterior photographs of the hospital.

 

Below is my interview with Hospital Director Dr. Med. Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., which occurred in March, 2017.

 As a privately owned clinic with a specialty in the rehabilitation of patients with spinal cord injuries, how do you keep the spirit of research and innovation alive?

Dr. Med. (medicinae) Gmünder: The goal of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, an umbrella organization that encompasses the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, is to create a unique network of services for people with spinal cord injury, from primary care through to the end of their lives. Its aim is to provide comprehensive rehabilitation and to reintegrate those affected into family life, society and the working environment.

We want to maintain our pioneering and leading role in the fields of acute medicine, rehabilitation and lifelong assistance to people with spinal cord injuries. By providing a comprehensive network of services featuring solidarity, medical care, integration and lifelong assistance, as well as research all in one place, we are unique in Switzerland and in other countries around the world.

People with spinal cord injury rely upon our network of services, which are at their disposal throughout their lives. The challenge facing us is to continually adapt these services to reflect current research and treatment to comply with our mission of delivering high-quality services. The trust which has been placed in us obliges us to continue our success story.

We have our own research department, closely linked to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, and dedicated employees who draw upon their wide-ranging professional networks to stay on top of the latest international research.

We have a few examples that we’d like to share with you.

  • In 2013, the World Health Organization (WHO) published its first international health report on the topic of spinal cord injury, “International Perspectives on Spinal Cord Injury.” It was developed in collaboration with Swiss Paraplegic Research in Nottwil and a team of international experts.
  • In the summer of 2014, the Swiss Paraplegic Centre became the first rehabilitation center in Switzerland to implement exoskeletons [external covering for the body that provides both support and protection] in the rehabilitation and training of patients with spinal cord injury. Our experiences are included in an international study, and will contribute to the development of useful mobility aids for people with spinal cord injuries.

At the end of October 2016, an estimated 9,000 visitors came to Nottwil for two days of celebrations to mark five anniversaries — the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation turned 40, the Swiss Paraplegics Association was 35, the Swiss Paraplegic Centre celebrated 25 years, Swiss Paraplegic Research reached 15 years, and it was the 80th birthday of the founder and honorary president, Dr. Med. Guido A. Zäch, M.D.

What draws patients to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre?

Dr. Gmünder: We support people with spinal cord injuries throughout their lives. It is the unique, holistic approach to acute medicine, rehabilitation and lifelong medical, professional and social assistance that draws patients from Switzerland and many other countries to our clinic in Nottwil.

For example, in cases where we have individuals involved in serious accidents, the comprehensive rehabilitation of a patient with spinal cord injury begins at the scene of the accident. The aim of comprehensive assistance follows in three stages – acute, reactivation and integration phase – through the appropriate, individual deployment of specialist personnel and instruments. We rescue the individual at the scene of the accident and provide the right acute therapy. What follows is an initial rehabilitation through specialists in diagnosis, surgery, therapy and care, and then comes lifelong support and care with the aid of specialists.

Following the disproportionately high percentage of people with tetraplegia admitted to the Centre for initial rehabilitation in 2014, our specialist clinic reported a higher proportion of people with paraplegia in 2015. Spinal cord injuries resulted from an accident in around half of all initial rehabilitation cases: falls led to the spinal cord injury in the case of 43 percent of people affected, sports accidents with 35 percent and road traffic accidents in 18 percent. In fact, 52,482 nursing days were clocked for a total of 1,085 in-patients who were discharged from the clinic after initial rehabilitation or follow-up treatment in 2015.

In fact, some of our patient success stories mentioned on our web site involve these individuals:

“I was a cheesemaker for 33 years with my own dairy; gardening was my second love. That was before I had my accident helping out on my son’s farm. I need a new hobby now that I will enjoy, that will fill my time and give me something to do when I get back home. Making art out of lime wood could appeal to me. While it is difficult for me to make the small cuts in the wood as I lack strength in my hand, patience will reap rewards. My most important objective? To be able to stand on my own feet and take a few steps again. I should have achieved that by the time I am discharged from the clinic in five months.” — Josef Kobler (58), tetraplegic following an accident.

“Since being diagnosed with a spinal cord injury, I come back to Nottwil a lot. For instance, to go the Wheelchair Mechanics Department to have the settings of my new wheelchair optimized. It replaces my legs and must fit my body perfectly. However, in most cases I attend the Centre for Pain Medicine of the SPC as an outpatient in order to have the extremely severe pains and muscle cramps, which I suffer from every day, alleviated. They became so severe that I had a pain pump with medication implanted at the SPC. It is apparent now that unfortunately the effect isn’t permanent. We are now giving electrostimulation a try. This involves applying electrodes to the vertebral canal. If I could finally get my pain under control, I would be able to return to work and set up my own business. That is my biggest wish. I have had an idea about what I could do.” — Hervé Brohon (41), paraplegic following an accident.

“I have always been passionate about cooking and have enjoyed treating my family and guests to my dishes and to the aperitifs that I have created myself. I absolutely want to be able to do that again. As independently as possible, of course. That is my objective. I have availed of the opportunity on a few occasions to try out the obstacle-free practice apartment and kitchen at the SPC. If I am able to go home in four weeks, my kitchen will also be adapted to be wheelchair-friendly. Whether I am cooking for two, four or six people is a much bigger consideration as a wheelchair user. I now have to consciously allow for time and effort. However, one thing is certain: I can’t wait to welcome my first guests.” — Isa Bapst (73), paraplegic following an accident.

How is the Swiss Paraplegic Centre transforming health care?

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Centre offers an integrated healthcare structure, including a wide range of medical specialists covering every aspect of medical care for those with spinal cord injuries.

In selected core disciplines for the care of people with spinal cord injuries, we also treat a large number of patients without spinal cord injuries. This relates primarily to pain medicine, spine- and spinal cord surgery and respiratory medicine.

In fact, the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, our umbrella organization, has been an unbelievable success story, operating a network of services to benefit people with spinal cord injury.

Our Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Dr. Sc. Techn. (scientiae technicarum) Daniel Joggi, knows what it’s like to become totally dependent as he has been in a wheelchair for the past four decades.

Dr. Joggi tells his story: “I have been a wheelchair user ever since I had a skiing accident 39 years ago. I know what it is like to become totally dependent from one second to the next. How doggedly you have to battle to recover as much of your mobility as possible and, more especially, to be able to live a self-determined life again after a long process of resilience. The inner resolve it takes to plot a new course in life, to have relationships with others from a different perspective and to acquire new job skills. Therefore, I am eternally grateful along with all the other people in Switzerland with paraplegia and tetraplegia for the help, support and great solidarity that allow the Foundation to deliver all the services which are so immensely valuable to us.”

At the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, a 24-hour emergency department is staffed to handle any emergency. Please provide your thoughts on this critical component of diagnosis and care for newly diagnosed patients.

Dr. Gmünder: Yes, our Centre is recognized by the Swiss Union of Surgical Societies as a specialist clinic for first-aid treatment of paraplegics.

Statistics and experience clearly show that in 80 out of 100 cases, the damage to the spine and the spinal cord is not definite immediately after an accident. In the first six hours, there are real chances to mitigate or even avoid an imminent cross-paralysis. After that it is usually too late.

In addition to transferring an individual directly to the SPC, appropriate acute care is another important criterion for the success of the individual affected by spinal cord issues. That means that individuals are in the right place for the subsequent, comprehensive rehabilitation.

The benefits for our patients are:

  • Emergency service around the clock by specialists trained to minimize damage to the spinal cord and spine;
  • Admission and treatment of all patients with paraplegia from all over Switzerland;
  • Specific knowledge and practical experience in comprehensive rehabilitation of paraplegics;
  • Comprehensive range of medical and therapeutic services under one roof;
  • Modern equipment for precise, careful diagnostics and operations;
  • Consultancy and network for external experts in areas not covered by the SPC;
  • Interdisciplinary work in well-established teams; and
  • Central location proximity and quick access from all parts of the country.

What is your connection to the Swiss Paraplegic Research and its mission of getting “strategy into research” and “research into practice?”

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Research (SPR), connected to the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, is part of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation (SPF) and is an integral part of the Nottwil campus.

It is the mission of Swiss Paraplegic Research to sustainably improve the situation of people with paraplegia or tetraplegia through clinical and interdisciplinary research in the long-term. The areas that are aimed to be improved are functioning, social integration, equality of opportunity, health, self-determination and quality of life.

Our Swiss Paraplegic Research has been supported by the Federal Government of Switzerland and by the Canton of Lucerne for eight years as a non-university research institution. We are proud of this accomplishment.

Our main research domains are in the areas of aging, neuro-rehabilitation, musculo-skeletal health, preserving and improving function of upper limbs, pain, pressure sores, respiration, urology and orthopedics.

The goal of Swiss Paraplegic Research is to promote the study of health from a holistic point of view, by focusing on the ‘lived experience’ of persons with health conditions and their interaction with society. We are, therefore, establishing a research network for rehabilitation research from a comprehensive perspective on a national and international level. This network will make it possible to practically apply the latest research findings to provide the best possible care and reintegration for people with paraplegia or tetraplegia.

This year, we received the approval of 18 new research projects and we had a total of 36 studies in progress under review, undertaken by and with the involvement of the Clinical Trial Unit (CTU), the department for clinical research at the Centre. For example, the successful implementation of a multi-center study on the use of walking robots (exoskeleton) merits special mention. Research was carried out in that study into the wide range of effects of maintaining movement for people with spinal cord injury.

The CTU will continue to carry out research in Rehabilitation Engineering in a cooperation with Burgdorf University of Applied Science and the research group headed by Professor Kenneth Hunt. The “Life and Care” symposium on breathing and respiration organized by the CTU provided a platform for an international knowledge exchange with national and international experts. This is crucial for further scientific development in respiratory medicine. In 2015, the CTU also launched the CTU Central Switzerland, in association with Lucerne Cantonal Hospital and the University of Lucerne. It supports clinics which are actively engaged in research with specific services, thereby enhancing Switzerland’s standing as a center of research.

How does the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation support your vision?

Dr. Gmünder: The Swiss Paraplegic Group includes the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, which was established in 1975, two partner organizations — the Benefactors’ Association and the Swiss Paraplegics Association, and six companies owned by the Foundation. Those six companies are the Swiss Paraplegic Centre, the Swiss Paraplegic Research, Orthotec AG, ParaHelp AG, Sirmed Swiss Institute of Emergency Medicine AG, Seminarhotel Sempachersee AG.

The Swiss Paraplegic Foundation, founded by Dr. Med. Guido A. Zäch in 1975, is a solidarity network for people with spinal cord injuries, unrivaled anywhere in the world. Its work is based on the vision of medical care and comprehensive rehabilitation for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia, with a view towards enabling them to lead their lives with self-determination and with as much independence as possible, supported by the latest advances in science and technology.

The unique network of services of the Foundation is a strategic mix of Solidarity, Research, Medicine and Integration and Lifelong Assistance. Let me elaborate on these services.

  • Solidarity
    • The Foundation provides a comprehensive range of services for every area of a person’s life who has a spinal cord injury. The Nottwil campus serves to be a center of excellence for integration, assistance and lifelong learning for our patients.
    • The Foundation ensures that its benefactors and donors are aware of our list of services and can support us longer term.
    • The Foundation establishes a national and international network that will guarantee better basic conditions for people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation encourages training of specialized personnel in the field of spinal cord injury.
  • Research
    • The Foundation contributes to the sustainable improvement of health, social integration, equal opportunities and self-determination of people with spinal cord injury by carrying out rehabilitation research.
    • The Foundation works closely with the World Health Organization (WHO) and encourages exchanges with universities and institutions locally and globally for the latest scientific findings and conducts academic training at the University of Lucerne.
    • The Foundation develops high-quality care standards for its patients.
  • Medicine
    • The Foundation offers all medical services needed for professional acute care and rehabilitation of people with spinal cord injury and encourages patients to become involved in their therapy and to take responsibility for their lives.
    • The Foundation strengthens relationships with partners in specific disciplines and local institutions to benefit people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation is a member of committees with political influence to ensure that its patients receive highly specialized medical care.
  • Integration and Lifelong Assistance
    • The Foundation establishes a network throughout Switzerland to help people with spinal cord injury.
    • The Foundation offers comprehensive services to meet people’s needs to improve their integration into society.
    • The Foundation encourages people with spinal cord injury to lead an independent life and educate family and friends so they can provide the necessary support.

Moreover, in cases of hardship, the Foundation makes contributions towards the cost of walking aids, equipment and amenities for people with paraplegia and tetraplegia. It also takes on uncovered hospital and care costs.

 Current market research shows that the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation ranks among the three most highly rated aid organizations in Switzerland. Can you please elaborate on why?

Dr. Gmünder: That is true. The Foundation is highly rated in terms of goodwill, innovation, competence and effectiveness. In addition, it is regarded as undoubtedly the most competent organization representing people with disabilities in Switzerland, according to several market research surveys.

So that we can continue to meet the demand for our patients, families and other visitors, plans are under way to upgrade our clinic and hotel on our premises.

We generally have interest from visitors to visit our Centre. Our guided tours and events enabled the general public to see how the foundation concept is put into practice, day in, day out. In Nottwil, 160 guides provided more than 11,000 visitors with a glimpse into the operations at our specialist clinic.

Additionally, we organized more than 5,000 scientific meetings attended by more than 170,000 people in 2015. And our wheelchair athletes take part in two major competitions, the IPC Athletics Grand Prix and the UCI Para-cycling World Championships, at our Nottwil site. It is our hope to continue to motivate individuals with spinal cord injuries to be involved in healthy exercise.

Since you became Hospital Director, how have you changed the way that you deliver health care or interact with patients?

Dr. Gmünder: It is important to me that the patients and their needs are the focus of our efforts. As such, one of my main tasks is to align our processes with our patients.

Here are some examples:

We started construction with a newly expanded Intensive Care Medicine, Pain Medicine and Surgical Medicine department last year to provide patients with an expanded variety of cross-linked treatments.

Certified as a nationwide trauma center, our Swiss Spinal Column and Spinal Cord Centre has become increasingly recognized throughout the country with large numbers of non-paralyzed patients, who have severe spinal cord injury, being referred to our facility. It is under the medical leadership of the Head of Department Dr. Med. Martin Baur, M.D. This highly specialized acute care facility recently received certification as a specialist center for traumatology within the Central Swiss Trauma Network.

We believe in developing the next generation of professionals and our Department of Anesthesia was recognized as a center of further training; the first two junior doctors have been appointed and postgraduate courses in anesthesia nursing are already available.

Our Swiss Weaning Centre, where individuals learn to breathe without a machine, has brought specialists from Intensive Care Medicine, Speech Therapy, RespiCare and Spinal Cord Medicine even closer together in a new process structure for respiratory medicine. At the same time, the Swiss Weaning Centre reported increased referrals from university hospitals and private clinics, as well as numerous successes with patients who had proved to be difficult to wean from respiratory equipment.

Our Centre for Pain Medicine, one of the largest pain facilities in the country, reported a further increase in inpatient treatments. Epiduroscopy, which was introduced in 2014, has proved to be a success. It is a percutaneous, minimally invasive procedure which is used in the diagnosis and treatment of pain syndromes near the spinal cord.

We reached a milestone in tetra hand surgery. The team of our doctors has been consulting at two other spinal cord injury centers and have used these occasions to show doctors around the country what possibilities there are for improved hand and grip functions, leading to an enhanced quality of life.

In what ways do you rehabilitate the whole patient? Why is this important early on in treatment?

Dr. Gmünder: In accordance with our vision, we are not just focusing on physical rehabilitation but on the entire person in their social environment (leisure, work, housing, mobility). Due to our broad organizational structure, we have many resources at our disposal. The rate of reintegration for people who did their primary rehabilitation at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre is almost 65 percent – one of the highest in the world.

Because we work to address diagnosis, treatment and management of traumatic spinal cord injuries with our patients, we take great care in working with patients on their medical disabilities, physical disabilities, psychological disabilities, vocational disabilities, social aspects and any health complications. That means that we not only treat patient’s medically, but also we treat them through therapy and complementary medicine, such as art therapy, sports and water therapy and homeopathic medicine.

At the SPC, we nurture a culture which is characterized by common values and shared objectives, namely commitment, leadership, a humane approach, cooperation and openness and fairness in our dealing with one another and with our patients.

As you follow patients throughout their rehabilitation and treatment, what are you most proud of at the Centre? 

Dr. Gmünder: Research has shown that early referral of a patient with a traumatic spinal injury lessens the complications, shortens the length of time in the hospital and is, therefore, more cost-effective.

We are confronted by individuals every day whose abilities have been limited by disease, trauma, congenital disorders or pain – and we are focused on enabling them to achieve their maximum functional abilities. Our patients have a better outcome and quality of life, patient-focused treatment, ongoing case management, and lifelong care.

It’s important to emphasize that our comprehensive rehabilitation of individuals with spinal cord injuries begins on the first day after the accident or trauma. On one hand, the medical treatments with paraplegia or tetraplegia are performed by a multidisciplinary medical team. And on the other hand, it is our goal to give those individuals their personality and life structure as quickly – and as best – as possible. An individual’s medical condition affects their psychological, physical and social aspects of life.

We focus on individualized treatment for the greatest possible independence for our patients. When patients are satisfied with our work and its results, they can resume a self-determined life. That is our greatest joy.

Hans Peter Gmuender

Image SOURCE: Photograph of Hospital Director Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., courtesy of Swiss Paraplegic Centre, Nottwil, Switzerland.

Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D.
Hospital Director

Hans Peter Gmünder, M.D., assumed the role of Hospital Director of the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in 2011.  He is a German-Belgian double citizen.

Previously, Dr. Gmünder was Chief Physician and Medical Director of the Rehaklinik Bellikon, a rehabilitation and specialist clinic for traumatic acute rehabilitation, sports medicine, professional integration and medical expertise for 10 years in the canton of Aargau, Switzerland. He began his career at the Swiss Paraplegic Centre in the 1990s as Assistant and Senior Physician, and later as Chief Physician and Deputy Chief Physician.

He completed a B.S. degree in Business Administration at SRH FernHochschule Riedlingen in 2010 and an M.D. degree at Freie Universität Berlin in 1987.

He is married to Sabeth and is the father of two children.

 

Editor’s note:

We would like to thank Claudia Merkel, head of public relations, Swiss Paraplegic Centre,  for the help and support she provided during this interview.

 

REFERENCE/SOURCE

The Swiss Paraplegic Centre (http:// www.paraplegie.ch), Nottwil, Switzerland.

Choosing the right rehabilitation facility is one of the most important decisions a survivor of a brain or spinal cord injury will make as the type and quality of care will have a significant impact on the patient’s long-term outcome. The top 10 rehabilitation centers in the United States are (http://www.brainandspinalcord.org/2016/04/15/top-ten-rehabilitation-hospitals-usa/):

  1. Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago
  2. TIRR Memorial Hermann
  3. Kessler Institute for Rehabilitation
  4. University of Washington Medical Center
  5. Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital
  6. Mayo Clinic
  7. Craig Hospital
  8. Shepard Center
  9. Rusk Rehabilitation at NYU Langone Medical Center
  10. Moss Rehab

The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago (https://www.sralab.org/new-ric), located in Chicago, Illinois, has been ranked as the number one rehabilitation hospital in the United States for the past 24 years by U.S. News and World Report. It is a 182-bed research facility that focuses solely on rehabilitation in many areas, including spinal cord, brain, nerve, muscle and bone, cancer and pediatric. For example, the rehabilitation course for patients with spinal cord injury requires precise medical and nursing expertise, respiratory and pulmonary care and sophisticated diagnostic and therapeutic equipment. For several years, the hospital has dedicated investments in talent, space and equipment that attract a high volume of patients with challenging conditions. The high volume, diversity of condition and greater complexity enables them to expand their experience in helping patients recover from spinal cord injury. Primary goals for patients include the emergence of meaningful motor function, sensation, coordination and endurance, resolution of respiratory and vascular instability, and overall continued medical recovery from the injury or disease.

The Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital Boston (http://spauldingrehab.org/about/facts-statistics) is ranked number five in the country by U.S. News and World Report and number one in New England.  As a unique center of treatment excellence and a leading physical medicine and rehabilitation research institution, Spaulding Boston is comprised of major departments in all areas of medicine requiring rehabilitation. They are a nationally recognized leader in innovation, research and education.  The facility also has been the source of significant treatment innovations with dramatic implications for a range of conditions, including amputation and limb deficiencies, brain injury, cardiac rehabilitation, pulmonary rehabilitation and spinal cord injuries, to name a few. http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/list.

Whether individuals are adjusting to a life-altering illness or recovering from a back injury, they will find the care they need within the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network.  Rehabilitation specialists have the training, experience, resources and dedication to help individuals:

  • Regain function after a devastating illness or injury,
  • Develop skills to be active and independent when living with chronic illness and/or disability,
  • Recover from surgery, work and sports injuries, and
  • Grow to the fullest physical, emotional, cognitive and social potential. http://spauldingrehab.org/conditions-and-treatments/

The ACGME accredited Harvard Medical School/ Spaulding/ VA Boston Fellowship Program in  Spinal Cord Injury (SCI) Medicine is a 12-month training program that offers advanced clinical training in SCI, a strong didactic component, and opportunities for research with protected elective time.  The curriculum is designed to provide exposure to the full spectrum of SCI care and includes rotations at VA Boston, Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital, and Brigham & Woman’s Hospital. Requirements include prior completion of an approved residency program in a specialty such as physical medicine and rehabilitation, neurology, internal medicine, family practice, surgery, or other specialties relevant to spinal cord injury.  http://spauldingrehab.org/education-and-training/spinal-cord-fellowship.

Specifically, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is at the forefront of innovative treatment for major disabling conditions, including spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury (TBI), other traumatic injuries, stroke, and neuromuscular disorders such as multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and Parkinson’s disease. At Spaulding, the treatment goals go far beyond immediate rehabilitation to address long-term health and function, as well as giving patients encouragement and hope as they return to their lives in the community.

The hub of their spinal cord injury program is the Spaulding-Harvard Spinal Cord Injury Model Systems (SCIMS) Rehabilitation Program, led by experts at Spaulding Boston, a Center of Excellence in spinal cord injury rehabilitation. With the guidance of their  physicians and other rehabilitation specialists and access to some of the most advanced technologies available today, their patients have the resources to strive for their highest level of neurorecovery – and to develop successful, enriching strategies for independent living.

When potentially life-altering spinal cord injury occurs, the Spaulding Rehabilitation Network clinicians are dedicated to pioneering improved therapies that can make all the difference to a patient’s immediate and long-term recovery. Their goal is to support a patient’s return to an active, productive and fulfilling life.

Whether the spinal cord injury is due to traumatic injury or illness, their team of experts will develop a treatment plan in collaboration with the patient and family. Depending on the severity of the injury, their teams work on improving function in: walking, balance and mobility; speech, swallowing and breathing; thinking (cognition), behavior and safety; dressing, bathing and other activities of daily living; incontinence, bowel and bladder function.

Their commitment is to offer a full spectrum of rehabilitation services for adults and children with spinal cord injury:

  • Intensive, hospital-level rehabilitation with goal-directed therapy 3 – 5 hours a day, at least 5 days a week for inpatients.
  • Long-term care and rehabilitation for patients with complicating conditions.
  • Cutting-edge spinal cord injury technologies and therapeutic techniques.
  • Emphasis on family participation throughout the course of care. with an inpatient comprehensive training and education series.
  • Seamless transition to multi-disciplinary outpatient rehabilitation.
  • Coordination of care with Spaulding’s outpatient centers.
  • Vocational training, participation in research, support groups.

Spaulding Rehabilitation Network is the official teaching partner of the Harvard Medical School Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation (PM&R). The Spaulding network’s facilities are members of Partners HealthCare, founded by Massachusetts General Hospital and Brigham and Women’s Hospital. The knowledge and expertise of this entire healthcare system is available to patients and caregivers. Their continuum of superb healthcare ensures that patients will find the care they need throughout their journey and the strength they need to live their life to the fullest.

Other related articles 

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Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following:

2016

Use of Sensors, Data and Devices to improve Health, San Francisco, April 5-6, 2016: Wearable Tech + Digital Health Conferences

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/25/use-of-sensors-data-and-devices-to-improve-health-san-francisco-april-5-6-2016-wearable-tech-digital-health-conferences/

2015

New Spinal Cord Repair Strategy using 3D Cell Growth

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/10/31/new-spinal-cord-repair-strategy-using-3d-cell-growth/

Unsupervised, Mobile and Wireless Brain–Computer Interfaces on the Horizon

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/11/21/unsupervised-mobile-and-wireless-brain-computer-interfaces-on-the-horizon/

Diffuse optics detects spinal cord ischemia – Optics.org

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/05/07/diffuse-optics-detects-spinal-cord-ischemia-optics-org/

Essential for Rehabilitation

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2015/12/03/essential-for-rehabilitation/

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A New Standard in Health Care – Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore’s First Fully Integrated Healthcare/Hospitality Complex

Author: Gail S. Thornton, M.A.

Co-Editor: The VOICES of Patients, HealthCare Providers, Caregivers and Families: Personal Experience with Critical Care and Invasive Medical Procedures

Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore’s newest private healthcare service provider, headed by newly appointed Chief Executive Officer Timothy Low, M.D., is a private, acute tertiary institution that represents an innovation in hospital administration, incorporating the latest technology to support better decision making for better patient outcomes and shorter hospital stays along with the beauty of nature and art to enhance the patient experience. The hospital, opened in March 2016, is sited within Singapore’s first, fully integrated healthcare and hospitality complex, called Connexion, which is Asia’s first, integrated lifestyle hub for healthcare and wellness. Connexion houses the 220-bed Farrer Park Hospital with its more than 300-accredited specialists and 18 operating rooms, a 10-floor specialist Medical Center, along with a five-star hotel and spa. In 2016, Farrer Park Hospital was awarded best new hospital of the year in Asia Pacific by Global Health and Travel Awards.

Farrer Park Hospital at Connexion at night

Image SOURCE: Photograph courtesy of Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore. An integrated healthcare and hospitality complex, called Connexion, Asia’s first, integrated lifestyle hub for healthcare and wellness, which includes Farrer Park Hospital.  

The hospital is also a teaching site for undergraduate medical training, providing enhanced medical care, service quality and professional integrity and value. Supported by approximately 600 hospital staff, specialists at Farrer Park Hospital provide a range of services, such as cardiology, oncology, orthopedic surgery, gastroenterology and ophthalmology. A 24-hour emergency department provides attention for acute illnesses and the hospital has the most modern facilities for diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and clinical laboratories.

Image SOURCE: Photographs courtesy of Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore. Left is a deluxe suite, top right is Farrer Park Hospital lobby, bottom right is Farrer Park Hospital building.

 

Medical tourism — the process of traveling outside your country of residence to receive medical care — represents a worldwide, multi-billion-dollar business that is expected to grow considerably in the next decade. Interestingly, Singapore’s medical tourism market is projected to grow by 8.3 percent annually and reach revenue of USD $1.36 billion a year by 2018.

My first question is: Why has Singapore emerged in the past few years as an international healthcare and research hub?

Dr. Low:  With Singapore’s excellent patient services and its dedication to research and wellness, the country continues to remain as the top destination for those seeking medical care. By providing convenience and trust in our medical sector, there is no doubt that it will continue to expand and grow. Our dedication is towards the patient, cutting-edge technology and personalized care. This makes Singapore a multi-faceted medical hub and a center of excellence. Patient can receive excellent standard of medical treatment, comparable to the Europe and the USA.

Currently, we are attracting foreign patients who expect five- or six-star hotel service, because we’re a private hospital. That’s why I’m strict about appearances. We have to look as groomed, and we need to be as personable, as those in hospitality and the airlines.

Please describe the concept behind Farrer Park Hospital as Singapore’s first, fully integrated healthcare and hospitality complex.

Dr. Low: The Farrer Park Hospital was designed and built to be a hospital of the future, combining innovation in medical care and medical education. The hospital was initially created by medical specialists to respond to the growing challenges of healthcare in Singapore and, more broadly, throughout the Asia Pacific region. We have ‘reimagined’ private healthcare in order to enhance medical care, service quality, professional integrity and value.

We are leading the way in healthcare innovation as we are a premier institution for medical care and education that is based upon three important tenets for the patient — comfort, fairness and value. In fact, our top accredited medical staff, along with state-of-the-art equipment and technology, contributes to increased efficiency, reduced cost, and most, importantly improved patient outcomes.

As an innovation in hospital administration, Farrer Park Hospital embraces technology and improves medical care through its state-of-the-art equipment that facilities telemedicine consulting services across the world. To create a conducive environment for medical professionals, the hospital’s 18 operating rooms are linked via fiber-optic connections to various locations through the Connexion complex, including the hospitals’ education center and lecture hall, teaching clinics and tutorial rooms as well as the hotel’s function rooms. In addition to being equipped with the latest in useful medical technology, the hospital has state-of-the-art information technology which enables seamless and rapid flow of information between the admission services, inpatient areas, operating theaters, diagnostic and therapeutic centers, clinical laboratories and medical clinics. We also are the country’s first private hospital to become a teaching site, with the medical students from Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine at Nanyang Technological University.

What is the type of environment you are creating at Farrer Park Hospital?

Dr. Low: Our care philosophy extends beyond healing and the management of disease to engaging with our patients as partners in pursuit of good health and providing an oasis for healing and relaxation. Throughout our facility, patients will find that attention has been given to every aspect and detail of our facility – from the comfort of our patients, to its impact on the environment, to the speed and ease of obtaining medical attention and to the maintenance of hygiene.

As healthcare players go, we are small and that has made us very aware of our challenges. As such, we have encouraged a culture of innovation, to grasp opportunities quickly. Healthcare is a very traditional industry, resistant to change and thus tend to be laggards in technology. Farrer Park Hospital, however, embraces technology. The seamlessness of information flow was the focus at the onset of the project. This hospital was planned technologically to be relevant for the next 20 years.

Being an institution built by healthcare practitioners has its advantages. We achieve painstaking perfection in our attention to detail. The hospital has many practical features that serve the needs of practitioners and patients while the hoteliers add details for comfort, luxury and aesthetics.

Our hospital is also supported by a hospital staff, who provide a range of specialty services, such as cardiology, oncology, orthopedic surgery, gastroenterology and ophthalmology, along with a 24-hour emergency clinic, which provides immediate care for acute illnesses. The hospital also has the most modern facilities for diagnostic imaging, nuclear medicine, radiotherapy and clinical laboratories. There is even a holistic service which focuses on screening, preventive medicine and lifestyle enhancement.

What is your perspective of engaging with patients?  

Dr. Low: The hospital’s care philosophy extends beyond healing and the management of disease to engaging patients in pursuit of good health. Healing does not end after a successful operation. It is not just about coming to the hospital for a procedure and then recuperating at home. It is about having the best and most comfortable services to get the patient on their feet. And having a family support structure close by, where relatives can stay close to the hospital, is essential in the rehabilitation process. That is why, as part of Connexion, the hospital is Asia’s first, integrated lifestyle hub for healthcare and wellness that is linked to a five-star hotel and spa.

Patients are treated by an experienced team of medical and health specialists in an environment meticulously designed to maximize comfort and efficiency while promoting well-being, rest and recovery.

How are you positioned technologically to be a leader in developing first-rate patient care? 

Dr. Low: We have taken the lead in many areas. Our facility is wired completely, any tests and treatments is automated whenever possible and the information is sent in real time to all stakeholders who require it. Our doctors can access this technology and make decisions as if they are in the hospital anywhere in the world.

What type of physician are you attempting to attract?

Dr. Low: The environment at Farrer Park Hospital is about clinical and service excellence, supported by physical and technological constructs that facilitates both these endeavors. We are building a culture of fairness and promoting decision making that is free from self-interest and toward better patient outcome. The doctors who join us must be aware that we take our code of comfort, fairness and value seriously.

What is the thinking behind the philosophy of incorporating nature and art into healthcare in Farrer Park Hospital?

Dr. Low: The architecture of Farrer Park Hospital and Connexion reflects the deep commitment to creating a true learning environment. Synergies between our hospital along with a closely linked hotel stimulate many innovations for improving the healthcare experience. The concept of a hospital near a hotel is not new, however, to integrate it to the level that we have is something novel. We followed a biophilic architecture approach throughout the facility, incorporating nature and art to enhance healing. Hospitals are traditionally not the best place for recuperation. We strive to have the restful ambiance of a hotel, in addition to proximity of doctors and family under the same roof, as well as using technology to enable seamless and speedy decision making; all this in support of better patient outcome and shorter stays.

You could say we are different in how we view private healthcare. A traditional hospital would not carve out 15 gardens at multiple levels throughout the facility so that patients and families can have places to feel the warmth of the sun and breathe fresh air whenever they like. The facility also hosts a private collection of over 700 commissioned Asian paintings meant to enhance the healing environment.

In land-scarce Singapore, a typical businessperson would not have fewer paid parking lots, making them one and a half times the size of a standard lot to allow a patient on crutches to comfortably extend the car door fully to disembark. A standard project manager would not insist that contractors construct a curved sink so that surgeons will not have water dripping down his elbows after scrubbing his or her hands, or a bath bench with a cut out that allows patients to sit while washing themselves. This may seem unnecessary but these innovative approaches translate to actual benefits to people who ‘value’ them.

Everyone has the same end goal, a good experience and better patient outcome. Our strategy is simple. We take our responsibilities to patients, their families and the clinicians seriously. Attend to their needs, anticipate their wants, and find the best way to address these concerns through innovation and technology. This ultimately brings value to patients.

How does nature and art come together at Farrer Park Hospital?

Dr. Low: The hospital, hotel and specialist center share and enjoy 15 gardens created at multiple levels in the building. One of the gardens, The Farm @ Farrer, grows fruits, vegetables and herbs for the hotel kitchens, and at the same time, is a large outdoor green space for recovering patients to stroll and sun. Uniquely, Farrer Park Hospital patients enjoy meals prepared by chefs in the hotel’s kitchens and confectionery.

Our inpatient food service, for example, is also automated, so whatever appears on the electronic screen on a patient’s personal tablet matches their dietary restrictions. The menu is a matrix of over 200 items customized by hotel chefs and our hospital nutritionist. Food that is fresh, delicious and safe for patient consumption is our primary focus.

Not only do we benchmark ourselves with hospitals, but also we take our inspiration from other industries. We believe to be at the top, you need to look beyond, break through and recreate process models and apply them for use in healthcare.

 

Dr. Timothy Low Photo

Image SOURCE: Photograph of Chief Executive Officer Timothy Low, M.D., courtesy of Farrer Park Hospital, Singapore.

Chief Executive Officer of Farrer Park Hospital, Timothy Low, M.D., brings a strong leadership background in managing award-winning hospitals. Prior to his current role, Dr. Low served as CEO of Gleneagles Hospital in Singapore. Through his leadership, the hospital established itself as a six-star private healthcare provider, clinching 14 local and regional awards including the prestigious Asian Hospital Management Award as well as the the ‘National Work Redesign Model Company’ by Spring Singapore, a governing agency for innovation in Singapore. Under his leadership, revenues exceed 42 percent to over USD $100 million.

Having also served in senior management positions for pharmaceutical and medical device industries in the Asia Pacific region, Dr. Low’s breath of exposure allowed him to pioneer the establishment of a global contract research organization, validating Singapore as its regional headquarters.

With more than 28 years of experience in the health care industry with such leading companies as Covidien, Covance and Schering-Plough, Dr. Low brings with him a strong background of leadership within the business and medical community. With his vast experience and contributions to the industry, Dr. Low is listed in the ranks of Stanford Who’s Who.

Dr. Low received his Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery from the National University of Singapore (NUS) and is also a graduate of the NUS Graduate School of Business, Stanford University Executive Program and the Singapore Management University Asia Pacific Hospital Management Program.

 

REFERENCE/SOURCE

Tan, W. (2016). Farrer Park Hospital patients can recuperate at adjoining hotel to ease ward crunch. The Straits Times. Retrieved from  http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/farrer-park-hospital-patients-can-recuperate-at-adjoining-hotel-to-ease-ward-crunch

Tan, W. (2016). New Farrer Park Hospital aims to offer ‘affordable’ private care. The Straits Times. Retrieved from http://www.straitstimes.com/singapore/health/new-farrer-park-hospital-aims-to-offer-affordable-private-care

Anonymous (2012). Singapore Medical Tourism: Farrer Park Healthcare and Hospitality Complex Will Open in 2013. International Medical Travel Journal. Retrieved from http://www.imtj.com/news/singapore-medical-tourism-farrer-park-healthcare-and-hospitality-complex-will-open-2013/

Retrieved from http://news.asiaone.com/news/yourhealth/farrer-park-hospital-appoints-new-ceo

Retrieved from http://today.mims.com/topic/farrer-park-hospital-opened-with-a-call-for-healthcare-changes-to-adapt-for-an-ageing-population-

Retrieved from http://www.farrerpark.com/hospital/Pages/Home.aspx

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Other related articles were published in this Open Access Online Scientific Journal include the following: 

2016

Third Annual BioPrinting and 3D Printing in the Life Sciences, 21-22 July 2016 at Academia, Singapore General Hospital Campus

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2016/01/18/third-annual-bioprinting-and-3d-printing-in-the-life-sciences-21-22-july-2016-at-academia-singapore-general-hospital-campus/

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Patient Satisfaction with Hospital Experience

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2013

Cardiac Surgery Theatre in China vs. in the US: Cardiac Repair Procedures, Medical Devices in Use, Technology in Hospitals, Surgeons’ Training and Cardiac Disease Severity 

https://pharmaceuticalintelligence.com/2013/01/08/cardiac-surgery-theatre-in-china-vs-in-the-us-cardiac-repair-procedures-medical-devices-in-use-technology-in-hospitals-surgeons-training-and-cardiac-disease-severity/

Risk Factor for Health Systems: High Turnover of Hospital CEOs and Visionary’s Role of Hospitals In 10 Years

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