RT interviews Larry Murdock, vice president of marketing at VIASYS Healthcare Inc.

Larry Murdock“The very first time I was introduced to respiratory care was with inhalation therapy in 1970,” says Larry Murdock, vice president, marketing, for the California-based respiratory technologies division (SensorMedics, Jaeger, and SpiroTech) at VIASYS Healthcare Inc, Conshohocken, Pa. “At that time, we primarily went around hospitals checking oxygen tanks and humidifiers. There has been an amazing change in the scope of what RCPs do today.”

Q. What is the Vmax Spectra Non-Invasive Diagnostic System?
The Spectra is a continuation of the original Vmax introduced in 1995. In the last 6 years, there has been an incredible change in available sensor technology. The Spectra takes advantage of these changes. The main focus of the instrument was to develop a modular configuration for more testing capabilities at a lower cost operation. Spectra adds a series of quality assurance sensor applications to monitor data for added accuracy and precision. The two sensor changes are in the analyzer and the flow meter. We have a new patent-pending morlar mass flow sensor that is relatively insensitive to pressure and humidity changes, and a new “Kelvin-Sensing” technology, which dynamically compensates for the effect of any temperature variations in the room or patient’s exhaled volume.

Spectra includes our new warranty program, Total Life Care, which is designed so our customers can accurately determine how much they will be spending over the life of the instrument. The Spectra is designed to be connected through the hospital’s network port so it can be directly linked to our Internet. Users can download files and new programs, have a support specialist check their analyzers, and troubleshoot the instrument. The program includes an optional business partner’s agreement to fulfill the requirements of the new Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act that goes into effect in April 2003. We are very excited about the product.

Q. How do you see the respiratory field changing in the next couple of years?
I think the requirements for RCPs, in terms of education and continuing education, will be higher. In lung function and sleep medicine, I see therapists moving into more diagnostic roles. When sleep testing began, it was mainly a neurology and EEG-technician business. In the last 5 years, more than 80%, in our estimate, of the people now applying the technology are RCPs.

Q. What does VIASYS have planned for 2002?
. In the respiratory technologies division, we have exciting plans for 2002. The sleep diagnostic business that SensorMedics, Jaeger, and Nicolet ran separately is transitioning into one powerful product line using the best technology of the three. Jaeger’s excellent Cephalo amplifier technology meshes perfectly with SensorMedics’ Alpha software, and with Nicolet’s tremendous experience in neurology, our EEG package is going to be very well received. Customers will find a lot of instrument compatibility with what they already have and a strong VIASYS Healthcare customer service team to support them.

We are also releasing a revolutionary new testing device for nutritional assessment. Similar to what was done in spirometry over the last 10 years, we took indirect calorimetry and made it pocket-sized.

In 2002, I think RCPs everywhere will hear a lot from VIASYS Healthcare, and not just in diagnostic products.