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Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals' Smart Cabinet Tracks Contrast Agents

The company has partnered with Mobile Aspects to provide an RFID system for tracking bottles of intravenous solution used for MRI and CAT scans.
By Claire Swedberg
May 13, 2008Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals, a Wayne, N.J., provider of diagnostic imaging technology, has launched VistaTrak, an RFID-based system designed to help hospitals monitor the use of contrast media—an injectable solution utilized for radiological procedures.

With the VistaTrak system, hospitals can employ a smart cabinet to help technologists ensure that the proper dosage of contrast media is administered to the correct patient. The back-end system can record the use of its contrast media automatically and generate invoices for patients. It can then provide reports to inspectors who report their findings to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO), an independent regulatory body that certifies more than 15,000 health-care organizations and programs in the United States and creates a set of rules, regulations and recommendations toward quality and safety practices in health care.


Scott Bertetti
Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals supplies two contrast products internationally, including Magnevist, an intravenous solution used to make blood vessels, organs and other non-bony tissues more visible for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The Bayer product accounts for about 60 percent of all MRI contrast agents sold worldwide, according to Scott Bertetti, the company's director of new product commercialization for diagnostic imaging. Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals also sells Ultravist, an intravascular solution used for computerized axial tomography (CAT) procedures, of which it has a smaller share—about 5 percent of the market.

In recent years, the company has received feedback from its health-care provider customers indicating they require a better solution for tracking the use of contrast agents. The bottles are typically stored on shelves, with radiology staff members manually tracking, on paper, which dosage of fluid was used for which particular patient. That system is labor-intensive, however, and leaves room for error.

Hospitals without automated billing systems in place, Bertetti says, can typically see error rates of 10 to 15 percent when billing for products such as contrast media. What's more, Magnevist is often sold in bulk quantities—in 500-milliliter bottles, for instance—of which the typical patient receives 15 to 20 milliliters. Once a bottle is opened, its contents must be used within 24 hours or less, so if an opened container is overlooked, or opened late in the day, the remaining product (which costs about $2 per milliliter) need to be discarded.

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