Published April 20, 2004
Volume 12, Number 4

Nellcor Flagship Product Sets Sales Records in Reaching Milestone
Company's OxiMax Pulse Oximetry Modules Measure Oxygen in Patients' Blood
Dan Roth demonstrates one of Nellcor's products which utilizes the OxiMax module.

By George Walsh
Special to NETWORK

Nellcor, an innovator in intelligent pulse oximetry solutions, recently announced that sales of its OxiMax Pulse Oximetry Modules have topped 100,000 units since the technology was introduced in March 2002. The company is the largest supplier of pulse oximetry modules to original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), who incorporate the technology as a feature in patient monitors, defibrillators, ventilators, incubators, and sleep diagnostic equipment. More than 2,500 hospitals have adopted OxiMax technology to date.

“Pulse oximeters are used in the acute care setting, on the general care floor of hospitals, in home healthcare, and in physicians’ offices,” says Dan Roth, Director of Marketing for Nellcor Oximetry. “They measure the oxygen saturation of a patient’s blood by using a sensor that is attached to the finger, forehead, or foot in the case of small children. Through the use of red and infrared readings, they are able to determine the color of the blood, which correlates to the amount of oxygen in the blood. The device then massages the signal a bit and gives the clinician that value so that they are better able to treat the patient.”

To put the company’s 100,000-unit milestone in perspective, Roth says “If a hospital has between 25 and 50 intensive care unit beds, each one of those patients would be monitored by pulse oximetry, along with other parameters. So, if you look at 100,000 units being placed, you can pretty much image that there are a significant number of hospitals using these devices. This has been the most rapidly adopted pulse oximetry platform in history.”

Nellcor, located at 4280 Hacienda Drive, is a part of Tyco Healthcare. Nellcor was founded in 1981 and also offers a wide range of products for measuring and regulating patient body temperature in addition to its pulse oximetry and airway management products that help regulate patients’ breathing. Tyco Healthcare is a part of Tyco International, which encompasses a number of groups focused on healthcare.

Nellcor’s operation at Hacienda includes not only the finance, human resources, marketing, and quality assurance functions, but also the company’s research and development team. The Hacienda site also houses Nellcor’s sister company, Puritan Bennett, which provides ventilators for the acute care market, several home care products, and sleep products for managing health issues such as sleep apnea. Between Nellcor and Puritan Bennett, around 260 employees work in Hacienda.

However much the company may tout its sales, the underlying idea is that they are developing healthcare products to help people. “Often, when people describe a system, they’re just talking about a piece of hardware,” Roth says. “When we describe a system, we believe it is not only the sensor and monitor, but the patient who has to wear the device and the clinician who needs to use it. If you don’t design a piece of hardware to best work within that system, then you just have a piece of hardware. You don’t have a solution for the patient.”


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