Vol. 13 •Issue 10 • Page 68
Cadwell Laboratories Streamlines Neurodiagnostics
Many great ideas rise from the desire to make life better or easier, and nowhere is this truer than in the arena of medical diagnostics and patient care.
As a medical resident in the late 1970s, John Cadwell worked with neurodiagnostic systems that contained dozens of buttons and switches that took hours to learn to operate and configure. Running a simple neurodiagnostic test was tedious at best.
“I thought, what I want to do is examine patients and provide a high level of care,” Cadwell said. “I don’t want to be an expert on how to run a difficult machine. You ought to be able to push one button for whatever test you’re doing and have it default to the correct settings so it’s ready to go.”
And so, in his basement, Cadwell designed a user-friendly, digital electromyography machine at a time when many EMG devices were analog-based. That was in 1978. A year later, Cadwell Laboratories Inc. formed, and the company started selling its state-of-the-art neurodiagnostic machines.
“We decided we’d form a company and sink our lives and every cent into it,” said Carl Cadwell, John’s brother and president of the company. “We hired good people and never looked back.”
Today, from its headquarters in Kennewick, Wash., Cadwell Laboratories offers products encompassing electroencephalography (EEG), EMG, evoked potentials and sleep diagnostics. Its primary goal is to create systems that are innovative, flexible, easy to use and affordable.
GIVING CUSTOMERS WHAT THEY WANT
From the start, the Cadwell brothers saw the need to add more capabilities to systems. For example, adding more channels allows the clinician to pick up more data from the patient. Today, the company markets EEG machines with up to 32 channels.
“We see the need to add even more than 32 channels, and we will continue to deliver products needed and demanded by the marketplace,” Carl Cadwell said.
Cadwell also has focused on manufacturing smaller diagnostic devices. Hospitals have limited space for clinicians to work in, and technological advances have permitted the company to design smaller, less expensive devices to replace bulkier machines.
“What we do is benchmark our machines against others in the market,” Carl Cadwell said. “We continually add new features to our product lines and create new lines as necessary.”
The new Cadwell Easy Ambulatory 2 EEG recorder can collect continuous EEG for more than 48 hours. An option available with the recorder allows the system to collect patient movement data, and virtual patient animation can be played back by the physician during data review. This is helpful when studying patients that lose consciousness or muscle tone.
Cadwell’s Easy II EEG/PSG system also is making waves in the sleep medicine community. One of the big problems today, Carl Cadwell said, is that many patients in hospitals have sleep problems, but they’re not all in the same place. The Easy EEG/PSG system can collect patient data in a patient’s room while connected to the hospital’s wireless network, so the entire hospital becomes a virtual sleep lab.
Another of Cadwell’s cutting-edge technologies involves the use of video (Q-Video) in sleep testing. Through the use of motion analysis — Q-video uses different color variations to highlight movement — Cadwell’s systems offer optimized diagnostics for clinicians administering sleep testing.
One of his company’s greatest achievements is a system that creates electronic medical records, Carl Cadwell said. With QuickMed® EMO™, physicians can complete charting for a typical patient in about two minutes, including writing prescriptions.
“Right now doctors are spending half a full-time person just managing charts, which is administrative overhead they don’t need,” he said. “QuickMed helps an office run much more cost effectively at a time when doctors are being crunched for reimbursements and need to be more efficient with their businesses.”
The QuickMed system also offers an innovative billing and scheduling component that will help physicians move to an entirely paperless practice.
“Electronic medical records are the newest direction of this company, and we plan to continue pushing into new medical areas,” Carl Cadwell said.
For more information about Cadwell Laboratories, call (800) 245-3001 or visit its Web site at www.cadwell.com.
Debra Yemenijian is assistant editor of ADVANCE. She can be reached at [email protected].