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Premier Healthcare Alliance and Cardinal HealthoOnline catalogues agree on product terminology for safety benefits

Cardinal Health : 23 April, 2007  (New Product)
The Premier Healthcare Alliance and Cardinal Health have standardised medical product terminology in online catalogues to help hospitals select safer products.
Historically, industry information describing the contents of a specific medical product has been inconsistent or non-existent, posing possible safety concerns.

Through Premier's Supply Chain Advisor electronic product catalogue and Cardinal Health SupplyLine, the largest product comparison and purchasing database in the health-care industry, Premier members will have a standard set of nomenclature for product attributes to make it easier to search for products that will not cause allergic reactions or those that are potentially toxic.

For example, products that are made without latex, mercury, PVC and DEHP will have the new standardised nomenclature to include attributes such as:

- Latex-free for products without latex.
- DEHP-free for products without the plasticiser, DEHP ( Di(2 - ethylhexyl) phthalate).
- Mercury-free for products without mercury; and PVC-free for products without polyvinyl chloride.

'Our customers have been telling us that they wanted to search our electronic product catalogue to easily identify and select safer products that are made without latex for latex allergic patients and staff, or free of potentially toxic substances like mercury', said Gina Pugliese, vice president of Premier's Safety Institute.

'With the help of Cardinal Health's SupplyLine, we're taking a giant step in that direction'.

Unlike pharmaceuticals, medical and surgical products do not have a standard coding system, and functionally equivalent health-care products are often difficult and time consuming to identify for cost saving opportunities.

SupplyLine, is a core component in Cardinal Health's rapidly growing Supply Technologies business that enables health-care providers and companies to evaluate more than 800,000 healthcare products and research alternatives from thousands of manufacturers.

In addition to cost savings, the benefits of SupplyLine, include reduced waste and excess, improved inventory controls, improved utilisation management and outcome analysis.

Latex allergies are an ongoing concern with possible serious allergic reactions among hospital staff and patients.

A federal law that went into effect in 1997 requires medical products with latex be labelled as 'contains latex'.

'Hospitals want to be latex-free', Pugliese said, 'but they need good information to select and purchase products that are free of latex'.

There are also safety concerns with DEHP, a plasticiser (softener) used in many medical products containing PVC, such as IV bags and tubing.

The Food and Drug Administration issued a Public Health Notification in 2002 recommending steps to reduce risk of exposure to DEHP in high risk patient populations and with certain products.

Also, PVC products when burned in medical incinerators release dioxin, a known carcinogen.

The Premier Safety Institute web site has extensive resources on latex allergies and environmentally preferable purchasing.

Premier Data Management Services has already processed several million new and updated product descriptions received in the past few months from SupplyLine.

As the Supply Chain Advisor (SCA) database becomes populated by these new attributes, SCA users will be trained so they can begin to use the new search capabilities.
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