Philips to acquire US medical systems firm Visicu

Baltimore-based Visicu Inc., which went public less than two years ago, has agreed to be acquired by the healthcare unit of Netherlands-based electronics giant Royal Philips Electronics NV. The price: $430 million.

The Dutch company is paying 35 per cent over the 17 December closing price of $8.86 for Viscu, which makes systems to monitor intensive-care patients. The Visicu board has agreed to recommend the transaction to the company's shareholders.

Steve Rusckowski, CEO of Philips HealthcarePhilips' move comes two weeks after the company acquired another clinical IT company, Emergin. Says Steve Rusckowski, CEO of Philips Healthcare, "Philips is a market leader in patient monitoring systems in the hospital, so we know the challenges our customers face – rising patient numbers, staff shortages and concerns about patient safety. By investing in clinical IT solutions like those offered by Visicu and Emergin, we believe we can offer customers more attractive patient monitoring solutions that improve hospital productivity as well as patient outcomes.''

Visicu, founded in 1998 by two doctors who developed the concept working between shifts in the intensive-care unit at Hopkins. Philips is reported to have agreed to keep most of the Visicu management in place.

Visicu's eICU program can track ICU patients at various hospitals, and provides continuous monitoring of patient vitals signs, medications, labs and early-warning alarms (or 'smart alerts') triggered by deviations in patients' vital signs based on current diagnosis. The smart alerts send warning signals to physicians and nurses to provide early medical intervention and optimal care.

According to the company, the eICU program supplements hospitals' critical care staff by allowing them to increase the number of ICU patients monitored by a factor of 15. Several affiliated hospitals have now expanded their eICU programs to serve smaller regional and rural hospitals outside their network.