News | May 17, 1999

Premier Members To Evaluate Safety Needle Devices

The trend toward providing healthcare workers with safety devices to protect them from bloodborne exposures is in evidence in a recent agreement between the Premier group purchasing organization (GPO) and various safety protection device companies.

According to a Premier release, the GPO is arranging for its member hospitals to purchase and evaluate safety needle devices from Retractable Technologies, Inc. (Little Elm, TX) and New Medical Technology, Inc. (Zionsville, IN), which produce automated retractable syringes. It's also arranging for purchase and evaluation with Safety Medical Supply International (Boston, MA), which provides needles with a safety tip sheath.

Some 20 states have passed or are considering safety needle legislation. Some 65% of the nation's hospital beds have existing or pending safety needle legislation, according to one estimate.

The agreement, the firm says, comes under the guidance of its medical/surgical committee, which represents its member organizations. Premier Purchasing Partners, L.P., the GPO for Premier, developed 18-month field evaluation agreements, effective May 1, with the three companies.

According to the firm, an existing Premier group purchasing contract already makes available the safety needles and hypodermic syringes offered by Becton Dickinson.

"The new arrangements provide interested member hospitals the opportunity to evaluate the three companies' safety products, in their own care units and with their own personnel, and share their feedback. Conclusions will be collected about the products' efficacy in reducing needlestick injuries and related transmission of bloodborne pathogens, as well as their utility and ease of use. Several healthcare systems represented by members of the medical/surgical committee will conduct more strictly controlled evaluations of the products using criteria and a methodology developed with the support of external clinical safety experts," the firm says.

Premier is said to be supporting development and administration of the evaluation agreements, not charging the administrative fees that a formal group purchasing contract would require. Use of the evaluation agreements is at members' choice and will be considered within the commitments for purchasing that members have made to Premier, according to a company spokesperson.

Medtronic, Eclipsys agreements announced

In a separate announcement, Medtronic, Inc. (Minneapolis), said it signed a three-year corporate partnership agreement with Premier under which Medtronic will provide minimally invasive cardiovascular products. The agreement includes diagnostic catheters for angiography and interventional therapeutic products such as balloon catheters used in coronary angioplasty. It follows an agreement signed in September, 1998, covering the supply of Medtronic's cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators, Medtronic says.

Finally, Eclipsys Corp. (Delray Beach, FL) announced it has entered an agreement with Premier to integrate Premier's Internet-based realtime product pricing and ordering information into modules of Eclipsys' Sunrise Resource Planning Manager. Through integrating Premier's WebCAT product with Sunrise Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) cataloging, contracting, and purchasing modules, Sunrise ERP Manager users who are Premier affiliates will have online access to Premier catalog, pricing and ordering information, according to an Eclipsys statement.