MD Technologies Inc. started in Arizona in 1989 when Merkle, an engineer, met Endoscopy Technician Kevin Druding. Druding had made a few suction-drain devices (Kevin’s Drain-O-Matic) to clean endoscopes using suction rather than manually irrigating with a syringe. The two collaborated on product design, then patented and produced the first DM6000 Suction Drain System units, which are still in use today. Merkle moved to Illinois in 1991 but continued work with MD Technologies outside of his “day job,” incorporating in 1993. Druding elected to separate from MD Technologies Inc. in about 2005.
The DM6000 was initially created to make endoscope cleaning easier and more reliable, but units quickly began to be sold as replacements for disposable suction canisters because of staff protection and cost savings provided to health care facilities. The system name was changed to Environ-mate®. Two logical derivatives of the DM6000 are the DM6000-2 (endoscopy) and DM6000-2A (surgery/OR) units, developed later on.
Merkle shared more about the benefit of the DM6000.
“There are actually two benefits,” Merkle explains. “The benefit to the staff is isolation from suction fluids that might be potentially infectious and the benefit to the facility is tremendous cost savings because there is no requirement for them to be purchasing the disposable supplies that they use with conventional fluid management.”
In 2002, MD Technologies introduced its PT20® Polyp Trap. The PT20® Polyp Trap is a single-chamber collector designed as an improvement over Lukens tubes used for urine, blood and stool samples which did not have screens.
Merkle explains that the PT20® Trap from MD Technologies is made in America and provides benefits to health care providers as well as to some important members of the Galena community.
“Our polyp trap, the PT20® trap, has a screw top and a very fine screen. The screw top helps minimize the risk of Clostridium difficile and the screen is wide open making it very easy to remove a specimen,” he says. “It is hand assembled in the United States and is actually very much favored among facilities. It is a little more expensive than what you might find with traps that are made offshore, for example in China.”
“The PT20® was specifically designed so that it could be assembled by developmentally challenged individuals at a local workshop right here in Galena,” he adds. “It provides employment for a couple dozen individuals at the workshop and as such it has been a tremendous success for the workshop as well as a great success for our company – providing jobs to individuals right here in the United States and right here in Galena.”
The company purchased Promethean Medical Technologies LLC in 2010 and now offers the Promethean Island suction floor mat to provide a comfortable walking surface while keeping the OR floor dry. Most recently, MD Technologies introduced the FM99, a filter/manifold that provides four connections for arthroscopy (scope, shaver and two auxiliary, low flow connections).
OR Today found out more about the company with a question-and-answer session with Merkle.
Q: What are some advantages that MD Technologies has over the competition?
A: Our company is small and nimble. When a customer calls, they reach live individuals. We offer support on the spot without a customer having to wait for a response. We offer personal recognition of customers without relating to accounts or numbers for various facilities and individuals. We address reported problems as soon as we are aware of them, typically within one business day.
Q: What are some challenges MD Technologies has faced recently?
A: Over the past few years, and particularly recently, we have been challenged by an increased demand for many of our products, while at the same time facing increased pressure to reduce prices on some of our other products.
Q: Can you share MD Technologies core competencies and unique selling points?
A: Our core competencies include the ability to listen to customer preferences and respond with products and services that address those demands. We are uniquely experienced since the late 1980s in fluid management matters, and we provide a comprehensive product offering to address fluid management issues.
Product Advantages/Selling Points
- Environ-mate® DM6000 Series Suction-Drain Systems: Advantages include a rugged design. Unit life exceeds 25 years with minimal requirements to replace the consumable components. Naturally, this requires that routine maintenance (cleaning) be respectfully conducted. Selling points include cost savings. The units pay for themselves within one year generally, while protecting staff from exposure to suctioned fluids. Wall-mounted units silently dispose of fluid without taking up valuable floor space, using excessive amounts of water or requiring secondary transport to a disposal site.
- PT20® Trap: Advantages include a screw top, removable fine-mesh white screen and clear container. Selling points include minimized risk of C. diff. when opening the container, easy retrieval of polyps from the white unobstructed fine mesh screen and, of course, reliable poly capture without damage.
- Promethean Island®: Advantages include a large area flexible floor mat, non-absorbent materials and a suction connection. Selling points are a comfortable anti-fatigue walking/standing surface, ability to measure deficit fluids (not collected by fluid collection system from procedure) and reduced slips/falls due to wet OR floors.
Q. What product or service are you most excited about right now?
A: At present, we are most excited about our FM99 Filter/Manifold, which permits four suction fields to be connected to one suction source. Suction level of each field will obviously be reduced compared to source suction, but the device is designed to accommodate two higher flow and two lower flow fields, and tests have validated this design.
Q: What is on the horizon for MD Technologies?
A: We are constantly reviewing and revisiting the design of our products to reduce costs so that our products can be offered at the lowest prices to meet the aggressive pricing demanded by today’s market. We expect to emerge with some very competitive pricing that will result in markedly increased sales. Improvements in procedures to maintain our suction-drain systems will simplify maintenance for those customers and assure even longer system life than today.
Q: Can you share a time that you “saved the day” for a customer?
A: On several occasions, we have assisted physicians and nurses in retrieving tissue that had been inadvertently collected by one of our suction-drain systems because either a trap was not installed, or maybe the trap did not feature a reliable screen (they should have used a PT20® Trap!). In each case, we were able to assist the physician or nurse in retrieving the tissue.
Q: Can you highlight any recent changes to your company?
A: The company has remained largely unchanged over the past several years, except that we continue to increase the number of unit installations and customers using our products. The new Filter/Manifold is the latest addition.
Q: Can you tell me about your employees?
A: Two unsung heroes of our company include Melissa Merkle and Janice Watson. Melissa is my wife, handling all day-to-day operations, and Janice is the work floor supervisor at the workshop where the PT20 is assembled.
Q: What is your company’s mission?
A: Our most important goal is to satisfy our customers. We ignore profit when it comes to addressing a customer need. Our focus is on fluid management and handling fluid prior to disposal to assure collection of any fluid borne tissue as necessary. We also strive to provide meaningful employment, in assembly of our traps and filters, for individuals with developmental challenges.
Q: Is there anything else you want readers to know about MD Technologies?
A: We are so grateful to have the opportunity to have served, and continue to serve, the health care industry, the endoscopy community and individuals with developmental challenges.
For more information, visit MDTechnologiesInc.com.