PLAINFIELD – Matt Reavill of Plainfield invented what he feels is a lifesaving medical device.
In June, Reavill participated in Premier Inc.’s “Breakthroughs Conference and Exhibition” in National Harbor, Maryland, and saw plenty of interest in his product, the ReavillMED’s One Needle Hospital Stay.
“We literally had 250 people come through our booth in less than two hours – hospital administrators, hospital presidents, chief medical officers and chiefs of nursing,” Reavill said.
But except for Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital – which did purchase a case – no one is buying it, and Reavill can’t understand why.
Reavill likened his invention to a scene in the movie “Pulp Fiction,” where John Travolta delivers a shot of epinephrine directly into another character’s heart to save her life.
What is it?
According to a news release from Premier Inc., Reavill’s new product “infuses a long catheter [called a PICC line] through the initially placed IV line to make it a long-term, multiple therapy central line catheter.”
PICC is short for “peripherally inserted central catheter.”
Reavill said his product eliminates the need for a central venous catheter – also known as a central line – which is inserted near the heart to give fast intravenous access in an emergency. PICC lines are inserted in the arm.
The ReavillMED One Needle Hospital Stay is basically a PICC that does the job of a central venous catheter, Reavill said. He cited two advantages to his product. One, it can be inserted in 30 seconds, he said.
“When you’re dying, you’ve got minutes,” Reavill said. “I don’t have half an hour to putz around with a PICC line.”
Two, Reavill feels his product – like other PICC lines – has lower infection risks than central venous catheters. In 1994, Reavill said, his father died from an infection-related to a central venous catheter after an angioplasty.
Sometimes, Reavill said, patients begin with a central venous catheter but go home with a PICC, doubling the infection risk. Moreover, Reavill feels the neck’s angle and close location to the heart makes the neck a bad location for inserting a needle.
“Anything sticking up from your skin can get infected,” Reavill said, “but if you have an infected PICC line, you’re not going to die from it. Putting the line in the neck is a whole different matter. You can’t amputate a neck.”
Reavill, who used to sell medical products – including central venous catheters – said he invented his product in 2007. That – as well as applying for the patent – was the easy part. Marketing it has proven to be much harder.
Why it’s slow to catch on
Rick Mace, chief executive officer at Adventist Bolingbrook Hospital, provided some insight into the “why.”
In general, Mace said, new and exciting products are common; hospitals could not possibly buy and use every single one. So even though Reavill feels his product is the “greatest thing since sliced bread,” Mace said a downside to the ReavillMED One Needle Hospital Stay is that its large needle is uncomfortable for the patient, and it takes time to insert.
Now that Reavill’s product is FDA-approved, Mace said, safety is not a concern, but cost and availability are. With Reavill being a “one-man show,” Mace said Reavill is not set up for manufacturing or distributing the product in bulk, which also makes it expensive to purchase.
While that is true, Reavill said, he added that every insurance company, as well as Medicare and Medicaid, does cover it.
“There is a reimbursement code specifically for it,” Reavill said.
Even with the disadvantages, Mace feels Reavill’s product has value, which is why the hospital bought a case and made it available to doctors in the emergency department.
But just because new items are at doctors’ disposal, Mace said, doesn’t mean they are required to use them – especially when other items are proven over time to work well.
For instance, Mace said, there is more than one way to perform interventional cardiology. Furthermore, there also are many types of angioplasty catheters. What to use when is based on doctors’ clinical judgment.
Mace still feels Reavill’s product could be useful under certain circumstances and that conversations about those details are ongoing. But Mace is not seeing a pressing need for the product.
If it was, someone with the means to mass-produce and distribute a similar item that would not affect the patent probably would have done so, Mace said.
“I’m not saying we would never use it,” Mace said, “but it’s not something we mandate. It is available for doctors to use in the right environment even today.”