Top 100 Fastest Growing Companies = Time to Say Thanks Again

It is truly hard to believe that a year has gone by since Iridia found itself on Business in Vancouver’s list of Top 100 Fastest Growing companies.   At that time we were both humbled and proud to find ourselves listed amongst some of the BC greatest up and coming companies.

business in vancouver

In the intervening months, we have added new staff, settled into our office on 3rd Avenue, and have renewed our commitment to living our corporate values.   We successfully completed our first corporate fitness challenge, ran our inaugural AED online giveaway, and we further cemented our associated with Kiva.  Throughout the journey we have, as many other organizations have, looked for creative ways to share our experiences with through Social Media.  In short, it has been another great year characterized by traditional levels of intensity, but this time also infused with additional new reasons for excitement.

When we received word that we had again achieved Top 100 status, we again felt incredibly fortunate to have had the year we did.  And so, it is again time to give thanks.  Thanks for our clients for believing in us and allowing us to serve them, to our partners for working alongside us, and to the Iridia team for their efforts in moving us toward greatness.

We can’t predict exactly what will happen in the coming year, but from what we do know, there are some very exciting things coming up, so do stay tuned.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest is a Family Matter

We have previously highlighted the factors that put you at risk of coronary artery disease (see post here). Among these factors, we identified family history as one of the leading contributors to sudden cardiac arrest.

A new Danish study released in November 2012, has provided additional details, and demonstrates a direct link between family history and SCA.

Research indicates that relatives of young sudden cardiac death victims appear to have a much greater risk of cardiovascular disease than the general population.

During 11-years of follow-up and tracking sudden cardiac death victims, there were 292 incidents of cardiovascular disease among those with relatives who suffered sudden cardiac death, compared to 219 incidents in the background population, representing a 33 percent increase.

Researchers found the risks were particularly high when the relative who suffered cardiac arrest was younger than 35. The findings suggest a large hereditary component of sudden cardiac death.

Sudden Cardiac Arrest

“Since the cardiovascular conditions on which we focused are treatable, early identification of at-risk persons is potentially a life-saving action,” wrote Mattis Flyvholm Ranthe, MD, of the Statens Serum Institute in Copenhagen. “Our findings are the first of their kind and support the initiation of cascade screening in families experiencing a sudden cardiac death, with customization of screening based on the underlying condition suspected to have caused the death and family member ages.”

Many of the risks linked to sudden cardiac arrest include:

  • Smoking
  • Hypertension
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Alcohol (more than one to two drinks per day)
  • Age (after 45 for men and 55 for women)
  • Being male (2-3 times the risk)

However, previous studies have shown numerous links to sudden cardiac arrest through genetic mutations, including primary arrhythmia syndromes (electrical malfunctions), cardiomyopathies (heart muscle deterioration), familial hypercholesterolemia (elevated cholesterol levels), and ischemic heart disease (poor blood supply to the heart).

Further Details

To explore the link between family history and sudden cardiac arrest, researchers performed a prospective, population-based cohort study using Danish national registries. They identified 470 individuals ages 1 to 35 years who suffered a sudden cardiac death from 2000 to 2006, and 3,073 relatives.

  • Compared with the general population, the relatives had a greater risk of developing cardiovascular disease during follow-up
  • First-degree relatives — parents, children, siblings — had a greater risk of cardiovascular disease compared with second-degree relatives, such as half-siblings, grandparents, grandchildren etc…
  • Risks were particularly high for first-degree relatives younger than 35
  • The risks among the relatives were greater when the initial sudden cardiac death was verified by autopsy.

An AED Save is Not Your Regular Routine

We came across this AED save not too long ago. Thought it was a great and inspiring story that deserves to be shared!

Haddad remembers very little of his last visit to Charter Fitness a health club in Hobart, Indiana, on October 30th. What started as a routine workout for the 22-year-old turned into a race for his life.

He remembers working in the free weight area of the club, then trying to reach for the wall right before he collapsed. 

“I couldn’t see and I couldn’t hear. I couldn’t move,” Haddad said. 

Two members quickly responded and informed the front desk that someone had passed out.

AED player down

Assistant manager, Jorge Almedina, quickly began administering CPR while employee, Sarah Gacsy, brought a defibrillator that was used to get his heart started again after it had stopped. 

Almedina called 911, then went back to Haddad to begin administering CPR. 

“He started breathing, but still had no pulse and that’s when an off-duty nurse who was working out here came to help,” Almedina said. 

Once the defibrillator was administered Haddad regained a pulse. Shortly after, emergency medical services arrived and transported Haddad to the hospital for assessment. 

Haddad said doctors there couldn’t find a reason for his heart stopping, but inserted a pacemaker to keep his heart beating regularly. 

“The doctors have told me they have no answer as to why my heart stopped. … I thank those who helped me here very much,” Haddad said. 

For Almedina, who is 21, the incident was an eye-opener. “I’m just glad I was certified and able to react. You don’t expect that to happen especially to someone close to my age,” Almedina said.

Tito Garcia, regional manager for the fitness club, said it’s a requirement that there be at least one employee during all shifts who is CPR and AED certified. 

“We’re just happy a life was saved and ecstatic our employees reacted courageously to save a person’s life,” Garcia said.

Defibrillation 101 

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=Y8m08y9BvJo]

Introducing the New BC Services Card

We recently received the following correspondence issued by College of Physicians and Surgeons of British Columbia on behalf of the Ministry of Health, outlining a program that will affect all British Columbians.

The BC Services Card

On February 15, 2013, the provincial government will introduce the BC Services Card, which will be phased in over a five-year period. The new card replaces the current CareCard. The new card can be combined with a driver’s licence and also serves as government-issued identification. All BC Services Cards will have an expiry date, enhanced security features and most will have a photograph, which will help to improve patient safety and reduce card misuse.

The BC Services Card will be delivered as an integrated program of the Ministry of Citizens’ Services and Open Government, the Ministry of Health, and the Insurance Corporation of BC. In future, additional in-person and online government programs and services will be accessed through the BC Services Card.

The Ministry of Health is pleased to announce that the Medical Services Plan is the first program available through the new card. With this change, and beginning February 15, 2013, most adult BC residents will be required to renew their enrollment in the Medical Services Plan by 2018. Once enrollment has been successfully renewed, individuals will be issued a BC Services Card.

BC Services Card

New regulations will also come into effect for health care providers, including the duty to verify patients’ enrollment in Medical Services Plan and the duty to report Medical Services Plan misuse.

Visit: health.gov.bc.ca/msp/infoprac/index.html to access the following resources:

  • A BC Services Card ID fact sheet for health care providers with images of the card;
  • A set of questions and answers;
  • A multimedia eLearning tool for self-serve information on the BC Services Card program; and,
  • Technical readiness information for those who use, or plan to use, a card reading device to capture information from the magnetic stripe or 2D barcode on the CareCard and BC Services Card.

Starting in January 2013, a public communications campaign will be launched to inform BC residents about the BC Services Card and the changes to the Medical Services Plan. Kits with posters, brochures and other communications materials will be delivered to health providers and other locations in communities across the province.

In addition, the Ministry of Health and partners have been engaging with stakeholders to inform them about the upcoming launch of the BC Services Card. These important meetings and presentations will continue through the initial phase of the launch.

Spreading the Holiday Cheer

One of our core values here at Iridia Medical is social responsibility.

“We believe that the bottom line is not the sole measure of company success. As a responsible player in the global marketplace, we are committed to running our business in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally sustainable, and economically profitable.”

Keeping in line with living our values to the fullest, this holiday season, the team at Iridia sponsored a family of three through the Salvation Army; providing them with a food hamper and gifts to make their holiday season a little bit brighter.

Over the past two weeks our team has feverishly been putting together a hamper full of toys and food, and today we were finally able to deliver it to our sponsored family!

The family was ecstatic when we arrived and thankful for our help, but for us, we’re simply lucky to be in a position to help out those in need.

This happened to be the first year we have adopted a family for Christmas, and we are so pleased with the turn out and support of our staff. We will look to continue this next year; and you never know… one day it may even turn into a new holiday tradition.  

“Be the change you wish to see in this world” – Mahatma Ghandi

Study Looks to Predict Sudden Cardiac Arrest Risk

A promising new way to predict sudden cardiac arrest risk has been identified by medical researchers at the University of Buffalo.

For patients who are at the highest risk of sudden cardiac arrest, this is exciting news, as this research may give cardiologists an advanced screening tool to help those in the high-risk category and those most likely to benefit from receiving an implantable cardiac defibrillator (ICD).

ICDs are mainly used to prevent sudden cardiac arrest in patients with advanced heart disease, but many patients’ devices are never triggered.

New research suggests that imaging the degradation of nerve function in the heart may identify those patients at greatest risk of developing a life-threatening heart rhythm.

Using Positron Emission Tomography (PET), in the largest PET imaging study ever done on sudden cardiac arrest, researchers were able to measure the amount of nerve damage within the muscular tissue of the heart.

PET imaging is also able to show where nerves have died or become damaged due to inadequate blood flow.

Sudden cardiac arrest

“The principal question we posed with this study was whether the amount of nerve damage in the heart could predict sudden cardiac arrest,” says James A. Fallavollita, author on the study. “We found that when at least 38 percent of the heart was showed signs of nerve damage, there was a significant increase in the risk of sudden cardiac arrest.”

At this time, to determine whether an ICD is needed, doctors take a measurement of heart function called the ejection fraction; the percentage of blood pumped by the heart with each beat. An ejection fraction of 35 percent or less is a strong indicator of sudden cardiac arrest risk; these patients usually require an ICD.

This research is a prime example of translational medicine (the emerging field which focuses on using what is learned in pre-clinical studies to do smarter things in the clinic). In this case, the pre-clinical studies demonstrated that the risk of developing ventricular fibrillation (a deadly heart rhythm) was related to regional nerve damage.

“Ultimately, we wanted to develop an approach that could tackle the problem of identifying a larger portion of the patients with coronary artery disease who are at risk of developing sudden cardiac arrest,” explains John M. Canty, a principal investigator of the research. “Since many patients who suffer a cardiac arrest do not have severely depressed heart function, PET imaging may be able to identify high risk individuals who, in the future, could be considered candidates for an ICD.”

Update – BC Influenza Control Policy

Earlier in the year, health authorities throughout BC (on the advice of Dr. Perry Kendall, BC’s Provincial Health Officer) agreed to ramp up efforts to protect patients and seniors from influenza exposure this flu season (read the full story). Now, after a much heated debate, the government has temporarily backed away from the controversial plan to force thousands of provincial health workers to get a flu shot before they can work with patients. 

Original Influenza Policy:

Effective December 1, 2012, all staff, physicians, students, volunteers, contractors and vendors must either be immunized against the flu or wear a procedure mask while in patient care areas.

BC Influenza Policy

Updated BC Influenza Policy (Dec 5th):

The Ministry of Health decided that during the first year of flu policy implementation the focus will not be on enforcement. Health authorities will not be disciplining employees, but will focus on education and awareness to promote compliance with the new policy.

Unimmunized staff must still wear masks in patient care areas, and immunized staff must display the flu shot sticker on ID badges during flu season.

From our Medical Director Dr. Allan Holmes:

“The following Influenza Control Policy for the Health Authorities remains in effect. The only change is that the enforcement within the Health Authorities will not be a focus in the first year. I remain support of the policy as it is designed to maximize protection for our patients.”

Learn more about influenza:
http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/hl-vs/iyh-vsv/diseases-maladies/flu-grippe-eng.php

ICED Project Celebration

Last Wednesday, Fraser Health celebrated the successful launch of the Implantable Cardiac Electrical Devices (ICED) Project, a regional model to standardize the service and delivery of cardiac devices. The ICED celebration brought together various stakeholders, such as sponsors, surgical and cardiac representatives and Fraser Health CEO Dr. Nigel Murray. As a major contributor to the ICED project, Iridia founder, Dr. Allan Holmes was on hand as Master of Ceremony. In his role as the Hospital Medical Coordinator, Dr. Holmes worked with the ICED project as a senior physician leader and liaison for the site. He also provided expertise into the management of adverse events and coordinated a specialized ACLS training program for the implanter group.

ICED

ICED celebration cake

The vision

To have the BEST Implantable Cardiac Electrical Devices program in Canada

What did we do?

Implemented a regional model for Implantable Cardiac Electrical Devices

Why did we do it?

  • To enhance the quality of care provided to patients
  • To maximize operational efficiencies in order to meet or exceed recognized wait time standards
  • To standardize pre and post-procedure care in accordance with evidence informed practices
  • To improve timely and equitable access to service
  • To optimize existing capacity and provide for future growth
  • To enable ongoing surveillance and monitoring of the ICED program

How did we do it?

  • Consolidated from four sites (ERH, SMH, BH, RCH) to two regional sites (RCH & JPOCSC).
  • Centralized referral/booking and patient triaging processes
  • Standardized clinical practice support tools & inventory management processes

Learn more about the ICED Project