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DOCtalk by Dr. Gregg 6/4/12

June 4, 2012 News 1 Comment

Blnk – Bridge Between Clinical Labs and Point of Care 


Anybody heard of Blnk Medical Technologies, whose tagline is “Bridging the Gap Between Clinical Labs and Point of Care?” I did an HIStalk search and didn’t come up with any results. Looked like something Mr. H might really dig.

I came across them from a recently new acquaintance, Marcelo Cardarelli MD, MPH. He and I connected via the Hispanic Healthcare Leaders Network on LinkedIn. (No, I know I don’t look Hispanic…and I’m not. I was asked to join by a colleague related to other work I do. Nice group of people, though, who’ve been very kind and helpful.)

Marcelo responded to an ask I placed for some medical content Spanish translation verification help. We’ve e-mailed numerous times in recent months, but one he sent recently week caught me a little by surprise.

He said he had been Googling about looking for info and contacts for a startup company he’s involved with. He was searching “Health Information Exchange” and my name popped up. He wrote and asked about my connection to CliniSync, the HIE from the Ohio Health Information Partnership. I responded and also asked about his startup. To this query, he replied with the following (I doubt he’ll mind if I quote him here):

With the help of former University of Maryland colleagues (smarter than myself), we developed a bedside monitor for critical laboratory values to be used on ICU and ED patients. It has the capability to connect directly to a hospital Lab Information System (or to a Health Information Exchange) with an HL7 interface. It displays the data as added value information, trended for 48h, color-coded, in fish-bone format, etc. without login in over and over. It is always on, runs over Wi-Fi and it looks (and works) like a vital signs monitor.

I used it on my own cardiac surgery patients for 2 years and then we licensed the technology from the University and partner with them on our startup.

We are contacting HIEs in different states because we know that sustainability will become an issue. We have the financing to provide a monitor for every ICU and ED bed, plus servers and installation at no capital cost for the hospitals. Our business plan is based on a service or license fee per user (or rather per patient). There is a formula but it turns out to be a single charge of around $10 per ED admission and $10 per ICU patient. We work with HIEs to deploy it in the particular state and we share a part of the profit on a minimum 5 year contract. Longer contract = larger share of the profit for HIE. Maryland, North Carolina and Delaware are working with us to see how we can make this work for them.”

Marcelo’s got lots of street cred including a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. You can see more about him here. I love one of the lines there about his interest in “the development of disruptive informatics’ tools that will allow physicians working in critical care areas of the hospital to develop a true sense of ‘situational awareness,’ improving patient safety while reducing the cost of healthcare.”

I’m not a hospital-based clinician, but I still remember enough from my ICU and ER days in training to know that this looks pretty intriguing, even if you overlook the attractive monetary paragraph above.

I’d love to hear from any of you hospital-ians to get your take.

(A moment please: I hope that on the Memorial Day recently passed that each of you took time to reflect upon those brave men and women who have sacrificed more than many of us can imagine. I for one am very grateful for what they’ve given.)

From the trenches…

“There can be as much value in the blink of an eye as in months of rational analysis.” – Malcolm Gladwell


Dr. Gregg Alexander, a grunt in the trenches pediatrician at
Madison Pediatrics, is Chief Medical Officer for Health Nuts Media, directs the Pediatric Office of the Future exhibit for the American Academy of Pediatrics, and sits on the board of directors of the Ohio Health Information Partnership (OHIP).

Comments 1
  • I spoke with Dr. Cardarelli after I wrote this and he filled me in on some deeper details. All I can say is, if you have a hospital has, or an HIE that services, one or more ICUs and/or an EDs, this might be one of the best inquiries you could make. It is very slick, very point-of-care useful, and very well thought out.

    (Dr. Cardarelli wrote that they’ve had increased web traffic after this post and phone contacts seeking more info. This may be a bandwagon worth getting onto quickly before the implementation calendar gets too full.)

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