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INDUSTRY NEWS

Originally Published January/February 2001

INDUSTRY NEWS

Welch Allyn Launches OEM Business Unit

Welch Allyn Inc. (Skaneateles Falls, NY) has established a business unit dedicated to the development and sales of subsystems and modules for patient-monitoring OEM applications. The formation of Welch Allyn OEM Technologies (Beaverton, OR), which was announced at the recent Medica trade show in Düsseldorf, Germany, was spurred by the company's acquisition of Protocol Systems Inc. and its Pryon OEM subsidiary in August. "Pryon is a leading supplier of CO2 monitoring equipment, and this expertise has provided us with an avenue to offer a broad range of vital signs technology to OEMs," says marketing and communications director Grant Gibson, who fielded questions about the launch from the company's stand at Medica.

One-piece blood pressure cuffs developed for OEM applications have been shown to last more than 100,000 inflation cycles.

The convergence of Pryon's noninvasive blood pressure, ECG, and capnography subsystems with Welch Allyn's thermometry and blood pressure cuffs has created an "opportunity to shrink costs as well as product size for our customers," says Gibson. The POEM noninvasive blood pressure module that was introduced at the show is an illustration of how device manufacturers will benefit from the pooling of resources, he says.

"The POEM module is smaller, lighter, and draws less power than competing products," says Gibson. It incorporates a pneumatic design that is unique in products of this type, he adds. The palm-sized module consumes 4 W maximum power—17 mW in sleep mode—while providing a 6-second inflation rate. Weighing only 124 g, the product is available in two versions: the robust POEM Basic and an advanced module with Smartcuf motion artifact rejection algorithms. Smartcuf's capability to furnish accurate noninvasive blood pressure readings despite patient shivering, vehicle vibration, and other sources of motion artifact has been documented in an independent study.

A palm-sized noninvasive blood pressure module that consumes 4-W maximum power was introduced by Welch Allyn OEM Technologies at the Medica trade show.

One-piece blood pressure cuffs were also introduced for the OEM market by Welch Allyn at Medica. The one-piece design provides an alternative to traditional cuff-with-bladder combination systems, thus eliminating the need to remove, clean, or replace the bladder, according to the company. The latex-free cuffs are constructed of 200 denier nylon, and have been engineered to meet clinical standards for cuff sizing and fit as set forth by the Association of Medical Instrumentation and the American Heart Association. During tests, the cuffs lasted more than 100,000 inflation cycles; the one-piece construction and flat port tubing connectors that protect against leakage are among the features designed to prolong the product's life cycle.

"These products are only the first splash for Welch Allyn OEM Technologies," says Gibson, who notes that the development of smart modules is a particular area of focus. —Norbert Sparrow

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