Sonosite Recognizes Memorial Hermann Healthcare System For Patient Safety Excellence And Leadership

July 20, 2011

Increased Use of Bedside Ultrasound Drives Remarkable Patient Outcomes: Zero Incidents of a Common Complication - Iatrogenic Pneumothorax (Collapsed Lung) - for Up to 36 Months

BOTHELL, WA - July 21, 2011 - Sonosite, Inc. (Nasdaq:SONO), the world leader and specialist in bedside ultrasound for point-of-care medicine, congratulates Memorial Herman Healthcare System (Memorial Hermann), one of the Nation's largest non-profit healthcare systems, for its excellence in delivering the highest level of patient safety by achieving "inspiring" safety results previously never thought possible. Four years ago, Memorial Hermann instituted a network-wide patient safety initiative as a part of its "journey to providing high reliability healthcare" and to meet national patient safety goals. To reward safety success stories, the healthcare system created a "Certified Zero High Reliability Award" acknowledging facilities that achieved a zero complication rate for a full-year or more for certain events and procedures. By introducing new safety protocols, including the integration of ultrasound guidance for central line placement, several of Memorial Hermann's hospitals have successfully prevented and/or eliminated adverse outcomes and reduced costs from complications. One significant complication is an iatrogenic pneumothorax, or a collapsed lung. This serious and potentially lethal complication can easily occur with a misguided needle during the placement of a central line or thoracentesis. Remarkably, multiple Memorial Hermann facilities were able to attain a zero complication rate for iatrogenic pneumothoraces for more than a full-year.

Raising the standard for hospitals around the globe, the following facilities received the "Certified Zero High reliability Award" for zero iatrogenic pneumothoraces: Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital, Memorial Hermann Sugar Land Hospital, Children's Memorial Hermann Hospital and eight community hospital "emergency departments" that receive more than 370,000 patient visits per year and place more than 100 central lines per month.

"Two years ago, we set the expectation that all central line insertions by our emergency physicians be performed with ultrasound guidance," said David C. Pelini, MD, Senior Vice President, Regional Medical Director, TeamHealth West, Emergency Services- Memorial Hermann Healthcare System. "We then developed and implemented an ultrasound training program to ensure all physicians acquired the skills to completely utilize ultrasound for central vascular access. As a result, our department has an excellent success and safety profile and many of our physicians commented that ultrasound has made complex vascular access easier and increased their confidence under various difficult circumstances."

Before the use of bedside ultrasound, physicians would traditionally perform needle-placement procedures blindly by using physical landmark techniques, which unfortunately can lead to a higher risk of complications or potentially lethal outcomes. Real-time ultrasound guidance allows the physician to have full visualization of the needle trajectory, which increases procedural success while ensuring that critical structures are avoided. In fact, a recent study illustrates the safety and economic benefits of using ultrasound visualization to guide a thoracentesis, further proving that bedside ultrasound can lower the risk of complications (pneumothoraces), and in result, reduce costs caused from complications and length of stay in the hospital.

Spearheading the patient safety initiative and the integration of bedside ultrasound at Memorial Hermann is M. Michael Shabot, M.D., the healthcare system's Chief Medical Officer, "We are pleased to change practices and behaviors whenever we have an opportunity to improve safety. As our governing Board has clearly stated, ‘Safety is our Core Value'."

Dr. Shabot continued, "There is overwhelming evidence in the literature and from our own hospitals that central lines should not cause a pneumothorax, so this can no longer be considered an accepted complication of line placement. The integration of ultrasound guidance has been essential to the success of our facilities' zero complication rates for iatrogenic pneumothorax and we simply could not have achieved those goals without it."

"We are very proud of our excellent outcomes and feel very confident that with consistent use of ultrasound guidance, we can continue to keep our rate of iatrogenic pneumothorax at zero," said Mayank C. Patel, M.D., Chair of Critical Care Medicine, Memorial Hermann Southeast Hospital.

"Memorial Hermann's experience is further corroboration of the value that ultrasound can have on patient safety and healthcare," said Kevin M. Goodwin, Sonosite President and CEO. "We are motivated by the success of their hospital network and are excited to honor them with the Sonosite ‘Star Award', a new initiative developed by our company to recognize health systems for reaching tremendous patient safety goals that were thought to be unattainable. Memorial Hermann is the first hospital to inspire the Sonosite ‘Star Award' and we look forward to congratulating more networks for their leadership and contributions to patient safety."

Please click here to access additional information on Memorial Hermann.

About Sonosite
Sonosite, Inc. ( is the innovator and world leader in bedside and point-of-care ultrasound and an industry leader in ultra high-frequency micro-ultrasound technology and impedance cardiography equipment. Headquartered near Seattle, the company is represented by fourteen subsidiaries and a global distribution network in over 100 countries. Sonosite's small, lightweight systems are expanding the use of ultrasound across the clinical spectrum by cost-effectively bringing high-performance ultrasound to the point of patient care.

About the Memorial Hermann System
An integrated health system, Memorial Hermann is known for world-class clinical expertise, patient-centered care, leading edge technology, and innovation. The system, with its exceptional medical staff and more than 20,000 employees, serves southeast Texas and the greater Houston community. Memorial Hermann's 11 hospitals include three hospitals in the Texas Medical Center, including a level 1 trauma center, a hospital for children and a rehabilitation hospital, as well as three heart & vascular institute locations and eight suburban hospitals. The system also operates an air ambulance, cancer, imaging and surgery centers, sports medicine and rehabilitation centers, outpatient laboratories, a Wellness Center, a chemical dependency treatment center, a home health agency, a retirement community and a nursing home. To learn more, visit, or call 713.222.CARE.