Okra Medical donates face masks to 8 hospitals see more
Okra Medical, a life sciences start-up company based on Johns Island, South Carolina, donated nearly 100,000 healthcare face masks to eight hospitals and one pediatric group serving on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The majority of the masks are smaller in size to benefit children and young adults.
“Like many in America, the coronavirus brought our business to a standstill,” said Marshall Hartmann, CEO, Okra Medical. “We redirected our laboratory efforts to securing medical supplies to both help fund our payroll and to give back to our community.”
Okra Medical had planned to launch the company’s new pharmaceutical drug destroyer, SafeMedWaste in mid-March. Then COVID-19 hit. The leadership team started looking for ways to leverage their international relationships to support the company and the community. They landed on securing PPE for the healthcare industry.
“We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the waves of donations received from the Charleston community. Most donors have said that they don’t need or want any thanks, they just want to help in any way they can, and assisting them by providing an avenue to receive has been an honor. As we try to stay focused and rise to the strategic challenges we’re all being faced with, the impact these donations are having, on both a personal and national level, is incredible.” Jennifer Simon, MUSC.
MUSC is one of eight hospitals benefiting from Okra Medical’s donations. The full list is:
- Medical University of South Carolina, Charleston, SC
- Roper St. Francis Healthcare, Charleston, SC
- Coastal Pediatric Associates, North Charleston, SC
- Prisma Health, Greenville, SC
- Shriners Hospital for Children, Greenville, SC
- Conway Medical Center, Conway, SC
- WakeMed Children’s Hospital, Raleigh, NC
- Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, Cincinnati, OH
- University of Pittsburgh Medical Center Children’s Hospital, Pittsburg, PA
“We are thankful for the health care heroes willing to serve at a time like this,” said Hartmann. “Giving back is the easy part. U.S. Senator Tim Scott’s Office and SCBIO made donating even easier by providing helpful guidance to match donors with organizations in need.”
“The rapid response of Senator Tim Scott’s team allowed us to quickly get donation masks into the hands of people who needed them most,” said Justin Stas, Chief Technical Officer, Okra Medical. “We are very proud of the way our South Carolina community, from government to individuals, has come together during this difficult time.”
SCBIO is South Carolina’s investor-driven public/private economic development organization exclusively focused on building, advancing, and growing the life sciences industry in the state. The industry has more than 675 firms, including Okra Medical, directly involved and 43,000 professionals employed directly or indirectly in the research, development and commercialization of innovative healthcare, medical device, industrial, environmental and agricultural biotech and products. The state-wide nonprofit represents companies in the advanced medicines, medical devices, equipment, diagnostics, IT, and healthcare outcome industries.
“We continue to be humbled by the amazing and impactful response to this public health crisis by SCBIO stakeholders like Okra Medical. Their gracious donation of thousands of critically important pediatric healthcare face masks to help ensure the safety of children in hospital environments during this global pandemic is a great example of Okra’s culture of servant leadership combined with their business expertise and innovativeness. We’re very proud and grateful that they are a highly engaged member of our organization,” said Sam Konduros, President/CEO of SCBIO.
A member of SCBIO, Okra Medical has developed and validated a patented product called SafeMedWaste that will simplify the way pharmaceutical manufacturers, hospitals, and individuals destroy and dispose of highly-addictive controlled substances like opioids. To learn more about the environmentally-friendly product, watch this video on the company website.
About Okra Medical Inc.
Okra Medical, Inc., headquartered in Johns Island, South Carolina, specializes in product development, manufacturing and strategic sourcing of controlled pharmaceutical substance disposal solutions. Founded in 2018, the Company’s mission is to improve public health. Its best-in-class suite of SafeMedWaste products use single formulas that are fully compliant with DEA regulations requiring non-retrievable destruction of controlled substances. Okra Medical is a strategic sourcing partner to hospitals, hospice facilities, law enforcement agencies, pharmaceutical manufacturers, and veterinary care clinics. Visit www.okramedical.com.
Prisma Health acquires two hospitals in South Carolina see more
Prisma Health-Midlands will acquire two Midlands health systems through an agreement announced Thursday. The 1.2 million-patient healthcare provider, headquartered in Greenville, has
purchased LifePoint Health’s Camden-based KershawHealth and Columbia’s Providence Health systems with plans to extend its Midlands network.
“We are delighted at the prospect of welcoming the Providence and KershawHealth teams to the Prisma Health family,” Mark O’Halla, president and chief executive officer of Prisma Health, said in a news release. “Providence and KershawHealth are known to share our commitment to improving patient experiences, clinical quality and access to care. We look forward to continuing our mutual goal of enhancing the health of our communities.”
Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed.
Through integration of KershawHealth and Providence Health, Prisma Health plans to target clinical expansion in areas including pediatric, orthopedic, women’s health and cardiovascular care, according to the release.
Providence Health will bring two hospitals, a freestanding emergency room, sleep centers, cardiac rehab facilities, outpatient therapy centers and a number of network practices into Prisma’s fold, the release said. Kershaw Health serves four cities through its Camden medical center, Elgin outpatient and urgent care center, West Wateree Medical Complex, sleep diagnostics center and therapy facility, now operated by Prisma Health.
“Ensuring that we maintain access to healthcare in South Carolina’s rural communities has been a priority of my administration, but we’ve always known that the private sector would be our most important partners in reaching that goal,” Gov. Henry McMaster said in the release. “This proposed acquisition would provide new opportunities to enhance clinical quality and improve access to affordable care for patients in the Midlands and beyond, but it also shows that Prisma Health is committed to the communities it serves, and for that, we should all be grateful.”
Source: GSA Business Report
Prisma Health, USC to collaborate on innovations see more
The University of South Carolina and Prisma Health – the state’s largest not-for-profit health organization – are announcing a partnership that aims to encourage the development and implementation of innovative health care delivery models, medical devices, digital health applications, and treatments for diseases.
Under the arrangement, which was approved by UofSC’s Board of Trustees on February 21, the University’s Office of Economic Engagement will assist Prisma Health – along with the UofSC Schools of Medicine in Columbia and Greenville – in identifying opportunities to develop mutually beneficial relationships with industry partners, bridging the gap between Prisma Health’s cutting-edge health research and the development of new technologies that help patients.
“At Prisma Health, we strive to go beyond treating diseases or their symptoms and aim to find cures and to design medical devices and digital capabilities that allow us to restore and transform lives,” said Mark O’Halla, President and Chief Executive Officer at Prisma Health. “Harnessing our expertise and that of the University of South Carolina together will help us accelerate our ability to address society’s most significant health challenges.“
Specifically, Prisma Health and UofSC will collaborate on a number of opportunities, including intellectual property patents and technology transfer support, operations development, cybersecurity, institutional insights, and strategic planning – all towards the shared goal of furthering research and innovation towards improving treatments and health care delivery. At its core, this partnership will drive innovation through UofSC’s extended successes delivering education, mentoring programs, and incubation asset development, as well as Prisma Health’s experience in leveraging its clinical and non-clinical expertise in the health care market, to drive innovations from benchside prototypes to clinical outcomes.
“This strengthens the outstanding partnership that already exists with Prisma Health. We are greatly committed to addressing the health needs of all South Carolina residents, and working together with Prisma in academics, research and patient care will make a real difference,” said UofSC President Bob Caslen.
As the state’s flagship university, UofSC is uniquely suited to help Prisma Health develop research or innovation partnerships that can lead to higher healthcare outcomes for patients across the state. This new relationship builds off of previous partnerships the university had with Prisma Health and its legacy predecessors, Greenville Health System and Palmetto Health, before they combined in 2019 to form Prisma Health.
“We have an extensive history of facilitating and supporting innovation efforts across multiple sectors,” said Bill Kirkland, executive director of UofSC’s Office of Economic Engagement. “Through this partnership with Prisma Health, we will now apply our commercialization and entrepreneurial successes to healthcare and life sciences. While this relationship will bear fruit for both insitutions, the real winners are the people of South Carolina, who stand to benefit from better access to care, innovative treatments, and the latest applications of research.”
“Prisma Health is committed to improving the health of South Carolinians,” said Brenda Thames, Prisma Health chief academic executive officer. “We are adapting to an ever-changing and increasingly challenging healthcare environment by becoming a learning health system that adopts rapid cycle innovation processes. While research provides the mechanism for evaluating and comparing the effectiveness of existing care models, innovation allows us to develop and improve new care models.”
Dr. David Cull, Prisma Health vice president of clinical and academic integration, added, “Through this partnership, we will create, test, and implement innovative initiatives that challenge the status quo and have the potential to reduce the cost of care, improve quality, and increase access to healthcare services.”
Clemson, Prisma Health to collaborate on developing new medical treatments see more
Researchers at Clemson University and Prisma Health have received funding to collaborate on the development of new medical treatment and diagnostic technologies.
Three Clemson-Prisma Health collaborations received investments from the recently created Innovation Maturation Fund, a joint effort between the Health Sciences Center (HSC) at Prisma Health and the Clemson University Division of Research. The program provides health care-focused grants designed to advance the development and commercialization of innovative medical initiatives and translational science, to improve the health care industry and to promote economic growth in the region.
The projects supported by this fund include a system to monitor triggers affecting respiratory health, injectable tissue regeneration technology and a monitoring device for patients with chronic kidney disease.
This year’s Innovation Maturation Fund awards range from $20,000 to $35,000 and were granted to:
Brian Booth, assistant professor in the department of bioengineering, and Jeffery Edenfield, medical director at the Prisma Health Institute for Translational Oncology Research (ITOR), to further develop a collagen-type medical implant that could greatly aid in breast tissue regeneration post-lumpectomy and prevent the recurrence of tumors.
Goutam Koley, professor in the department of electrical and computer engineering, and Steve Snodgrass, pediatric pulmonologist, to develop a mobile sensor system that monitors environmental triggers for respiratory health issues that are especially prevalent in patients with respiratory illnesses. The monitoring system will utilize a battery powered miniaturized sensor system with cellular data connectivity that can be carried in person to continuously monitor specific environmental parameters for an individual.
Robert Latour, McQueen-Quattlebaum Professor in the department of bioengineering, and Sudha Garimella, clinical assistant professor in the School of Health Research and medical director of the Division of Pediatric Nephrology and Hypertension at Prisma Health–Upstate, t0 continue to develop ammonia breath-test sensors that can be used by patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) to measure the ammonia concentration in their exhaled breath. This technology would enable patients with CKD to monitor their physiologic status within the comfort of their own homes.
Managed by the Clemson University Research Foundation, the goal of the fund is to increase applied research collaborations between Clemson faculty, graduate students and Prisma Health clinicians and to promote ideation and design of medical technology innovations that are attractive for commercialization.
“The Innovation Maturation Fund is a special funding program that was developed in conjunction with the Clemson Division of Research and Prisma Health to target unmet needs in the health care industry,” said Chris Gesswein, executive director of the Clemson University Research Foundation. “I am excited to be able to participate in granting the first round of funds to deserving researchers through this new program. An important step towards fostering and supporting innovation in health sciences, with this program we have the unique opportunity to accelerate the commercialization of medical technologies in an effort to create a more self-sustaining model for promoting growth in health care.”
“Prisma Health is excited to partner with Clemson University to engage companies and researchers in developing the next innovative breakthroughs in healthcare,” said Cody Reynolds, technology transfer manager in the Office of Innovation at Prisma Health-Upstate. “The Innovation Maturation Fund provides early-stage technical solutions to clinical opportunities and access to clinical learning environments that will equip researchers with the tools necessary to successfully obtain public and private funding.”
Hitachi, Clemson partner on new initiative see more
Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death. It accounts for 31 percent of deaths globally1 and for more than $351 billion in health expenditures, costs which are expected to increase by 100 percent by 2035.
More than ever, there is a growing need for a highly trained workforce that can play a critical role in reducing these alarming statistics. Clemson University and Hitachi Healthcare Americas are answering this call. The two have joined forces to accelerate innovation in cardiovascular imaging to help students reach their full potential.
Technical training for quality care
Early detection and diagnosis through regular appointments and the use of technology, like cardiovascular sonography, is critical to reducing cardiovascular related deaths and improving the quality of life for millions of people worldwide. And with an aging baby boomer population, cardiovascular sonographers are in high demand. The current health care market employs approximately 130,000 sonographers and is expected to experience a growth rate of 14 percent (18,000 jobs)3 between 2018 and 2028.
Providing students with real world experience, and access to state-of-the-art facilities and technology are critical priorities for preparing the talent pipeline.
Since 2011, Clemson’s Department of Public Health Sciences has offered the Cardiovascular Imaging Leadership Concentration in collaboration with the Health Sciences Center at Prisma Health. Through this program, the University has been instrumental in preparing students to enter the workforce by offering technical training in noninvasive vascular testing and adult echocardiography.
Now, through Hitachi and Clemson’s most recent collaboration, Clemson’s CVT students will have the chance to use Hitachi’s software further preparing them to enter the health care industry. Hitachi is also establishing the Hitachi Healthcare Outreach and Professional Development Fund, which will support faculty and students for programming and outreach efforts across South Carolina.
Students will have access to VidiStar PACS Online Reporting software Platform, Hitachi’s DICOM viewer, echo viewer and report modules and vascular reports. Hitachi is also providing staff to train students on use in a clinical setting.
Software for the cardiovascular sonography machines use soundwaves (ultrasound) to create a moving image of the heart. Combined with Doppler ultrasound, physicians can see areas of poor blood supply to the heart in patients with conditions, like:
coronary artery disease (CAD)
valvular heart disease
deep vein thrombosis-DVT
peripheral arterial disease (PAD)
And the non-invasive2 procedure allows medical professionals to:
Assess overall function of the heart
Determine the presence of many types of heart disease
Follow the progression of heart disease over time
Evaluate the effectiveness of medical or surgical treatment
Sonographers are also tasked with providing notes and feedback to physicians when they’re unavailable, increasing the importance of sonographers’ role on patient health and outcomes.
Hitachi Healthcare America’s value-based structured reports leverage a cloud-based image management and analytics platform, helping customers successfully deploy and adopt technology across complex and diverse organizations, apply advanced analytics and data mine to their valuable patient data.
The reporting softwares being provided by Hitachi will further strengthen the skillset of CVT graduates, ensuring they are prepared to execute the necessary reports.
This is not the first venture between Clemson and Hitachi4. Hitachi High Technologies has long partnered with the Electron Microscopy Facility providing cutting edge microscopes and supporting the Hitachi High Technologies Graduate Fellowship to further the depth and breadth of advanced research and development being done at Clemson.
Hitachi and Clemson’s most recent partnership will accelerate innovation through an in-depth understanding of issues facing healthcare through the eyes of its students. The next generation of ideas and improvements will benefit Hitachi’s product development, Clemson’s students and patients everywhere.