Acutis brings solutions to 2019 New York State Pain Society Annual Meeting.

This year’s theme: Emerging from the Opioid Crisis: Advances in Multimodal Care was of particular importance to our company, especially in light of the work we do to aid and abet physicians and others working in pain management and addiction specialties.

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To make the most of the event, the company was represented by Acutis CEO Jibreel Sarij, VP of Sales Anthony Nolfo, as well as sales representatives: Jared Blais, Madeline Galvano, Amanda Leamer, Kseniya Shyrokava, Sam Orgel.

For participants, the Sessions’ programs reflected issues these professionals face daily, from: the evolving understanding of the opioid crisis and trends in interventional pain management, to advances in regenerative medicine and even the legal implication of pain management.

Jibreel Sarij, Acutis CEO thought the event was especially useful as it gave the company the opportunity to receive feedback directly from users of our latest technology platform. “Our platform not only provides clinical clients with a vastly simplified way to order testing and receive results, but one that also employs business intelligence tools that help report medication compliance and abuse trends.

Our sales reps also reported back that the conference allowed them to become better acquainted with doctors and other providers. Madeline Galvano, saw that Acutis is in exactly the position to “help doctors keep up with trends of treatments and issues of importance, as they rarely had the time to follow the news closely.”

Amanda Leamer, like Ms. Galvano, remarked on “the privilege to speak with providers especially those unaware of the capabilities of our specialty labs.” She found in every conversation a connection to build on.

What Samuel Orgel found most valuable and enjoyable was meeting with clients outside their offices because: “I had the time to actually explain how we could help them treat their patient more effectively and by extension, help their practices run more efficiently.

Jared Blais: considered it “an honor being able to represent Acutis and also to attend various sessions. I was also able to meet with medical professional that I have not had the access to in the past.” An added benefit, he also made professional relationships with other vendors.

Kseniya Shyrokava found most valuable the feedback she received from the pain management physicians with whom we already work. She also appreciated the chance to cultivate potential leads. She was especially delighted to see the attention Acutis received from physicians from both U.S. and abroad.

By any metric, we believe our presence at New York State Pain Society 2019 proved a success. Our staff engaged with our clients and potential clients and left with valuable insights. Perhaps most important was our team’s effort to enhance awareness of the Acutis brand, demonstrating leadership in this area of clinical toxicology.

Perhaps of greatest value we be the information that we bring home to our lab and support staff. We’ll use the insights we acquired to improve our communications internally, as well as with our clients, to raise our level of customer service. And, ultimately, we’ll use them to hone our own practices, products, and services.

Yesterday’s news has become today’s news, and likely will be tomorrow’s news, too.

Synthetic cannabinoids are not new, and yet, they continually find their way back into the news. They return in the form of dangerous new variations, with more menacing and ironic names; while promising greater potency, and, so, more thrills. But these familiar and still illicit substances can be 85-times more powerful than marijuana. This “industrial strength” poison threatens users with both new symptoms and possibly significant harm. 

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Synthetic cannabinoids first made national news on July 12, 2016, when the New York City Emergency Medical Services (EMS) were summoned to a block party in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn. On the street, groups of partiers exhibited altered states of consciousness that would later be described as “zombie-like.” The zombie name struck a chord and stuck. The actual name of the substance, AMB-FUBINACA, was not nearly as well known. 

Two years earlier in Louisiana, a similar outbreak was attributed to an AMB-FUBINACA analog with the “trademarked” name “Train Wreck 2.” We don’t want to be seen as not taking this problem seriously. We do, so much in fact, that we’ve committed substantial resources to bring our panels to the fore of the industry. But we also think it would be a mistake for the medical industry and substance abuse specialists not to recognize the ingenuity and creativity of those who manufacture and distribute these substances. Ignoring this reality could prove detrimental to our finding new ways to detect new drugs through clinical testing. This is particularly true as the makers of these drugs are constantly innovating and creating new products, often with only slightly varied recipes.

In response to this shape-shifting phenomenon,
Acutis has launched its updated Spice Menu,
with new assays to reflect these barreling trends. 

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These include 20 new analytes, including our AMB-FUBINACA and 5F-ADB tests for the substances which represent over 61% of reported synthetic cannabinoids used in the U.S. These steps are of critical importance, particularly as young people are increasingly vaping drugs like K2, 24K Gold, and AK-47. The vaping trend is growing even as smoking in the traditional sense has fallen out of fashion.

As the article, “‘Zombie’ Outbreak Caused by the Synthetic Cannabinoid AMB-FUBINACA in New York” in the December 2016 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine by Axel J. Adams, B.S, Samuel D. Banister, PhD., Lisandro Irizarry, M.D. et al, made clear: Commonly abused drugs are undergoing a period of proliferation and diversification … [while] new psychoactive substances are providing users with alternatives to older and better-characterized drugs, such as amphetamines, heroin, cocaine, and cannabis.” The article reports that more than “540 new psychoactive substances have been reported to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.” 

And, of these, synthetic cannabinoids are the fastest growing class. Since 2008, there has been a significant uptick in the use of synthetic cannabinoids. First called “K2” in America and “Spice” in Europe, these designer drugs have a completely different chemical structure from plant-based THC, and so there’s nothing natural or predictable about the high.

We can expect to see an increase in the use of these drugs because of their low cost and the potential for dilution into large volumes of product. In light of these facts, Acutis will work with the medical community to develop ever and ever more sensitive tests to help identify even the faintest presence of the metabolites indicating AMB-FUBINACA and other, newer synthetics. 

We will also continue to research and expand our tests because as the article from The New England Journal of Medicine observed: The analysis of new psychoactive substances requires more than the typically targeted drug panels, [which is to say] success will rely on more sophisticated analytic platforms. [Platforms] that have the ability to rapidly identify previously unreported compounds.” 

We will judge our progress not only by developing the science and technology to detect very low concentrations of a drug or its metabolites, but also to predict and rapidly generate reference standards for previously unknown psychoactive substances. 

To learn more about Acutis’ work in this area, contact service@acutisdiagnostics.com

Acutis has its eye on the future of STEM on Long Island.

Stony Brook University’s School of Health Technology and Management’s Sigma Beta chapter recently held an event to commemorate current and graduating members of its Clinical Laboratory Sciences Program. A highlight of the event was the induction of students with a GPA of 3.5 or higher into the Lambda Tau National Honor Society.

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Following the ceremony, Daniela Zaborskis, Acutis’ Director of Operations, provided an overview of the nation’s opioid crisis and the role laboratory medicine plays in helping to ameliorate it. David Goldberg, Acutis’ Managing Director, spoke on the future of laboratory medicine and the critical roles the knowledge and skills of Clinical Laboratory Technicians (CLTs) will play in the profession’s evolution.

Acutis’ attendance at the event is a sign of its commitment to both STEM on Long Island and also to Stony Brook’s School of Health Technology and Management. Dr. Zaborskis and Mr. Goldberg’s visit was intended to show students and graduates how their studies align with the real-life work of the profession.

Acutis’ presence served also as informal recruitment effort, where the company offered internships. In addition to Dr. Zaborskis and David Goldberg, other members of Acutis in attendance included: Marjorie Bon Homme (Chief Scientist & Clinical Laboratory Director) and Javon Barnwell (Manager of Human Resources).

Goldberg remarked afterwards: “The meeting was a very uplifting experience. I met with the future stewards of laboratory medicine, young scientists who having finished a rigorous program were now well prepared to enter the profession with equal parts education and enthusiasm.”

For more information of Clinical Laboratory Services program, click here.

Acutis is a company in motion.

Pri-Med Washington, DC, offered clinicians two intense days of practical information and workable insights designed to hone skills and enhance expertise. It was a conference that spoke to us and we wanted to hear more.

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As a company in motion, Acutis is building on its clinical toxicology expertise to grow into an important medical specialty laboratory. Today, Acutis, a New York–accredited lab, provides state-of-the-art diagnostic services to physicians and clinics throughout New York, as well as deep into the Tri-state area
— New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, and into New England.

As our competencies increase, so are the places where we see the opportunity to grow. Last week, at the Pri-Med Conference in Washington, DC, Acutis was represented by Stephanie Moorefield, Tiffany DiPietro, and Nicole Summers. Each found a receptive, even enthusiastic audience for the new level of service Acutis offers.

Stephanie was impressed by the size of the show, as well as the optimistic collegial atmosphere. She found the opportunity to introduce Acutis to many in attendance, healthcare providers open to new resources. Tiffany met with doctors and other providers. She engaged in serious discussions with a number of physicians who, while genuinely interested in trends and treatments, often didn’t have the time to learn on their own. Nicole discovered Pri-Med attendees who were anxious to learn what Acutis had to offer. She was most excited by physicians who, after visiting our booth, invited us to come to their offices to hear how Acutis could add value to their practices.

All agreed that the meeting provided invaluable insights into the state of the industry. And each saw there was a real need for a company that could articulate its vision and purpose.

After our successful meeting in DC, we look forward to the next Pri-Med show, and also to taking the Acutis message farther and farther afield.

Not an overview; two days of intensive education.

Pri-Med Washington, DC offers clinicians two full days of practical information and workable insights conceived to hone skills and enhance expertise. All the event’s activities share the same intent—improve patients’ quality of life.*

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Pri-Med educational sessions, led by renown faculty—men and women who are highly credentialed leaders in their fields—will “unpack” the most up-to-date subjects, clinical guidelines, and recommendations. And do so in such a way that these tools can be implemented immediately. (For a list of speakers, visit: https://bit.ly/2UzcgN1)

Topics addressed on April 17th include: Cardiology, Geriatrics, Endocrinology, Psychiatry, Critical Issues of the Day, and Pain Management.
Topics covered on April 18th include: Wellness, Psychiatry, Infectious Disease, Hot Topics, Dermatology, and Cardiology. (See full agenda here: https://bit.ly/2UQLHlO)

Acutis Diagnostics will be in attendance on both April 17th & 18th.  The importance of this event was made clear by a number of our clients in pain management and infectious diseases. On the basis of their recommendations, our representatives, Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield, will be on hand to meet with attendees and introduce them to our company.

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Tiffany DiPietro, Nicole Summers, and Stephanie Moorefield

By attending events such as Pri-Med, Acutis Diagnostics, already recognized as one of New York State’s most respected specialty laboratories, will have the opportunity to share with the industry our growing areas of competence.

* Professional Credits
In addition, you will have the opportunity to earn up to 13 CME/CE Credits
(April 17:  7 Credits and April 18: 6 Credits).

Putting the focus back on treatment.

At some point or another, a scandal touches every industry; medicine is no exception. But seldom has one name scorched so many great cultural institutions as that of the Sackler family. The affected museums, universities, and foundations that were beneficiaries of the Sackler family’s largesse include: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Tate Gallery, The Smithsonian, the Guggenheim, Yale, The New York Academy of Sciences, and other renowned institutions.

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The crisis of conscience experienced by these institutions and also the righteous anger of the attorney generals across the nation who are suing both members of the family, as well as the family-owned company, Purdue Pharma, was caused by the misuse of OxyContin, the company’s best-selling product. The irony is that this medicine, hailed as a wonder drug, offered doctors a way to alleviate severe pain suffered by countless patients including those with cancer and terminal illnesses.

Both Purdue and members of the family have been accused of aggressive, reckless, and even criminal marketing of the drug; including encouraging their sales force to ignore the practice of unethical doctors who ran infamous pill mills. As a result, this former “miracle drug” has become a symbol of the most despicable kind of corporate greed. Although some might argue that Purdue and the Sacklers have become scapegoats for a society that has failed to treat a decades-long catastrophe in a responsible, let alone effective way.

The discussion entered the mainstream with an article in The New Yorker magazine, “The Family That Built an Empire of Pain,” by Patrick Radden Keefe. Since its publication in October 30, 2017, the story of OxyContin and its role in our nation’s very real “opioid crisis” has only grown more intense. 

As a company working at the leading edge of clinical toxicology, Acutis has developed innovative technologies and science and advanced methodologies that enable our medical and drug treatment clients to quickly identify the misuse of OxyContin, as well as other prescription and illicit drugs, including natural and semisynthetic opioids, synthetic opioids, methadone, fentanyl, tramadol, and heroin.

Throughout our collaborations with doctors and our peers in the industry, our conversations have moved outside the lab and into the culture at large. These conversations have made us extremely aware of all that’s at risk by ignoring the real problem.

First, there is the complexity of managing pain, an imperfect art that physicians and others who help suffering people must practice. Second, these professionals do their work fully aware of the frailty of these human beings and their susceptibility to addiction.

The New Yorker’s investigation brought to the surface countless intersecting dynamics that help us understand a cause of crisis—from Purdue’s aggressive marketing practices and the greed of a small number of doctors, to the desperate financial situations of patients who found themselves in possession of a valuable commodity. We also learned a great deal of the role these drugs play in the lives of men and women living in depressed, largely rural and impoverished places.

The story of the Tate Gallery’s and other’s repudiation of new funding by the Sackler trusts, as well as the noisy, even vengeful protests, led by the artist Nan Goldin make for a good story. That said, Acutis has never chased headlines. In fact, we are saddened by the growing number of lawsuits, both those brought by Attorney Generals and also litigators on behalf of their clients. Some settlements have already been made and others will be litigated with the expectation of reclaiming some of the costs related to the 1,000s of deaths attributed to OxyContin.

But we think the emphasis on the Sackler Family and OxyContin, which is still, when used as prescribed, a great help to people suffering from terrible pain, is misguided.

As a company intimately familiar with the workings and expectations of physicians and substance-abuse practitioners and facilities, Acutis refuses to be distracted by sensational news. Nor will we point our finger at a convenient villain.

Few things are as seductive as watching the mighty fall, or the opportunity to turn up our noses at “filthy lucre,” or witness the humbling of the glamorous art world. That said, we will leave the schadenfreude and moralizing to politicians, activists, and cultural critics.

Our task as a clinical toxicology lab is to continually refine our science and technology to provide our clients with the best tools to address the real threats to our individual and collective well-being. We will judge ourselves solely by the following criteria: The precision of our results, delivered in the most timely manner, which together enables our clients in the healthcare community to provide the most appropriate treatment. This is our work and no news, no matter how sensational, will distract us from it

February is, historically, the month with the most reported cases of Influenza.

What are the facts?

  • We are in the midst of 2019 flu season and February is, historically, the month with the highest rate of Influenza.

  • The CDC recommends an annual flu vaccine for everyone 6 months and older.

  • The flu vaccine is the best way to reduce your risk of flu and its potentially serious consequences.

  • Acutis Reveal can determine if you are suffering from the flu or simply a cold.

  • The facts are not in dispute: Get vaccinated today.

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As we wrote elsewhere, flu is not easy. One reason, as the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reminds us, is that each season introduces different viruses. To provide optimum protection, the makeup of U.S. flu vaccines is updated to match the current circulating flu viruses.

Once you’ve received your shot, it takes about two weeks for the antibodies to develop in the body. So, even if you haven’t had the shot yet, this is a case where later is better than never. As the season could last well into May, even a late vaccination can prove beneficial. This is especially true for high-risk individuals. These include young children, pregnant women, people with chronic health conditions, and the elderly.

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The words “Flu Season” are meant to be taken literally. They are not used metaphorically. It is not medicine taking poetic license. Flu can be active from October until May.

As the flu spreads—from the most intimate settings, to the most public spaces—the Centers for Disease Control suggests we take these precautions to stop the spread of the viruses:

· As much as possible, try to avoid close contact with people suffering from the flu or who show signs of the flu.

· If you’re ill, limit contact with others to avoid infecting them.

· If you have flu-like symptoms, the CDC recommends you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone. Leave your home only to seek medical care or for other necessities.

· Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. After using a tissue, throw it in the trash and then wash your hands.

· Wash your hands frequently using soap and water. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

· Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth. Germs spread this way.

· Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with flu germs.

Flu vs Cold

One of the most confusing aspects of the flu is that its signs and symptoms resemble the common cold and other less dangerous illnesses. See the list below to better determine the nature of your illness, or those of the people around you.

 
 


Flu complications can be more than a little complicated

Most people who get the flu will recover in anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. But for those who develop complications such as pneumonia, complications can lead to serious illness, even death.

Sinus and ear infections are examples of moderate complications from the flu, while pneumonia is a serious flu complication that can result from either influenza virus infection or from co-infection of flu virus and bacteria. Other possible serious complications triggered by the flu can include inflammation of the heart (myocarditis), brain (encephalitis), or muscle (myositis, rhabdomyolysis) tissues, and multi-organ failure (for example, respiratory and kidney failure). Flu virus infection of the respiratory tract can trigger an extreme inflammatory response in the body and can lead to sepsis, the body’s life-threatening response to infection.

The flu also can make chronic medical problems worse. For example, people with asthma may experience more violent asthma attacks when suffering from the flu, and people with chronic heart disease may experience a worsening of their condition.


What are the emergency warning signs of influenza in infants,
children and adults?

Infants. Pay close attention to these signs:

· No appetite or unable to eat
· Difficulty breathing
· No tears when crying
· Fewer wet diapers than normal

Children. Watch for these symptoms:

·
 Fast breathing or trouble breathing
· Bluish skin color
· Refusing fluids
· Difficulty waking or interacting
· Irritability and refusing to be held
· “False recovery”— a fever returns along with painful cough
· Fever with a rash

Adult. Look for these indications:

·
 Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath
· Pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen
· Sudden dizziness
· Confusion
· Severe or persistent vomiting
· Flu-like symptoms that improve but then return with fever and worse cough

Acutis Diagnostics recognized by Newsday as a New York success story.

In early December, Acutis was the subject of a feature article by James T, Madore, who writes about Long Island business for NewsdayThe piece describes our work, our rapid growth, and also our plans to expand our current competencies. In the piece, Acutis is described as a “great success story.” As a company in motion and as one committed to the medical community and the public its serves, everyone at Acutis is happy to share this story with you,

A clinical laboratory involved in the fight against opioid addiction and misuse of antibiotics wants to quadruple its space by moving west, from Suffolk County to Nassau, executives said.Acutis Diagnostics Inc., begun three years ago, has grown from two employees working in 1,000 square feet of space in Farmingdale to more than 100 in 10,000 square feet in East Northport. And the company now is looking to buy a 40,000-square-foot building in Hicksville to meet increased demand for its lab tests. CEO Jibreel Sarij said recently that the opioid crisis has fueled sales of Acutis’ medication monitoring systems by physicians, drug treatment centers and others.

Read more

Aetna selects Acutis as an in-network provider

We are pleased to announce that as of October 1, 2018, Aetna — a Fortune 500 Company that has been described by the New York Times as “one of the most progressive actors
in corporate America” — has accepted Acutis as a national, in-network provider.  

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Acutis maintains its commitment to its clients and the industry with:

  1. A no-compromise work ethic that adheres to protocols that have no tolerance for error. 

  2. Our proprietary 728 Patient Report™ that enables clinical decisions by pointing out abuse of prescription/illicit drugs that are too often missed by providers.

  3. A sense of urgency — 97% of our reports are delivered by the next business day.

  4. A payor-centric approach that believes good healthcare delivered at the lowest cost is a business imperative. 

  5. An adherence to “medical necessity” as the only basis for testing, which leads to better patient outcomes with minimal testing.

Only a few, select clinical toxicology laboratories have been accepted as Aetna in-network providers. We see our acceptance as an affirmation, not only for Acutis as a whole, but of every single member of our company, from our PhDs to our support staff. We are honored to have earned Aetna’s trust and will work hard and smart to keep it.

“We will continue to refine our science and technology to ensure greater accuracy and consistency, as well as regular cost savings and rapid turn-around time.
What’s more, our ongoing investment in research and development will lead to greater advancements in clinical toxicology, as well as state-of-the-art diagnostic tests in infectious disease and molecular diagnostics.”
— Jibreel Sarij, Acutis’ CEO

Acutis is on it. Our Sales Specialists Stephen Dybalski and Kseniya Shyrokava were on hand at the 2018 New York & New Jersey Societies of Interventional Pain Physicians’ Pain Medicine Symposium

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The theme of this year’s show “Evolving Advanced Pain Therapies” could not be more relevant in light of the current opioid and pain-management crises. Nor could it be a more appropriate venue for Acutis to share with this community our new definition of care: A company at the leading edge of medical diagnostics. A company committed to ensure professionals in this specialty have one less thing to worry about.

Led by Chairman, Sudhir Diwan, MD, and Course Directors, Scott Woska, MD and Christopher Gharibo, MD. The show provided the most up-to-date information on advanced pain management techniques, pharmacology, neurostimulation, vertebroplasty, kyphoplasty, discography as well as other treatments and procedures.

Both Stephen and Kseniya made a special point to visit with our current pain-management clients who were in attendance, as well as introduce potential clients to Acutis’ expanding capabilities. New contacts were cultivated and, as important, new lessons were learned that will be shared throughout the entire Acutis network.

During the show Stephen and Kseniya became acquainted with those new products and procedures that were most exciting to members of the medical community. Of particular interest were training geared for primary caregivers, as well as medical-management physicians who require specific training in the prescribing and utilization of opioids and controlled substances.

500 specialists in pain and interventional pain management, as well as neurosurgery were in attendance. Acutis is proud to have been among this esteemed company.