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Noninvasive Healthcare Tools Support Value-Based Care

Noninvasive healthcare tools are proving their worth to value-based care as they save money and improve patient care.

Noninvasive healthcare tools support value-based care.

Source: Thinkstock

By Elizabeth O'Dowd

- HeartFlow and GE Healthcare announced their collaboration in increasing the availability of HeartFlow FFRct to assist clinicians in diagnosing patients with coronary artery disease (CAD), using noninvasive healthcare tools.

HeartFlow FFRct uses data collected from a CT scan to construct a personalized model of the patient’s heart. Clinicians can then easily see the extent of the disease and how CAD is affecting blood flow to the heart. The technology aims to ease diagnoses and eliminate the need for more invasive testing.

The collaboration will implement GE Healthcare computed tomography scanners to support HeartFlow. The scanners will also produce more detailed images of the heart.

The GE technology being leveraged for this collaboration includes the Revolution family of CT scanners, SnapShot Freeze intelligent motion correction, and the dedicated cardiovascular CT system CardioGraphe.

HeartFlow will also be using AW advanced clinical applications including CardIQ, VessellQ, and TAVI.

Data is taken from the patient’s CT angiogram and uploaded to the organization’s cloud. HeartFlow takes that data and uses deep learning to construct a 3D digital model of the patient’s coronary arteries. The algorithm solves millions of equations to simulate the patient’s blood flow and how blockages are affecting it. The tools also provide actionable insight to assist the clinician on their diagnosis.

Additionally, the collaboration will make HeartFlow accessible to more healthcare organizations by making it easier to integrate with existing CAD protocols.

Clinicians are looking to diagnose patients as accurately as possible using the least invasive means, and tools that provide both of those things are gaining popularity in the face of value-based care. Healthcare organizations are looking to introduce tools to their health IT infrastructure that will save money and increase patient treatment.

The increased visibility many advanced technology tools bring to clinicians gives them a better view of what is going on inside, and allows them to see significant changes as a patient is treated.

Advanced technology assists organizations greatly in this endeavor because it lets them diagnose patients quicker. Noninvasive technology makes patients more comfortable and less likely to return for complications or additional testing.

HeartFlow made another announcement this week involving HeartFlow FFRct. The American Medical Association (AMA) issued a new set of Category III Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes for HeartFlow FFRct.

The CPT code application was submitted collectively by the American College of Cardiology (ACC), the Society of Cardiovascular Computed Tomography (SCCT) and the Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI).

“This favorable decision is a testament to how industry and medical societies can successfully collaborate to advance new technologies to benefit patients,” HeartFlow President and CEO John H. Stevens M.D. said in a statement.

The new HeartFlow FFRct CPT codes will become effective on January 1, 2018, according to the release. The codes include:

  • 0501T -- Noninvasive estimated coronary fractional flow reserve (FFR) derived from coronary computed tomography angiography data using computation fluid dynamics physiologic simulation software analysis of functional data to assess the severity of coronary artery disease; data preparation and transmission, analysis of fluid dynamics and simulated maximal coronary hyperemia, generation of estimated FFR model, with anatomical data review in comparison with estimated FFR model to reconcile discordant data, interpretation and report
  • 0502T -- Data preparation and transmission
  • 0503T -- Analysis of fluid dynamics and simulated maximal coronary hyperemia, and generation of estimated FFR model
  • 0504T -- Anatomical data review in comparison with estimated FFR model to reconcile discordant data, interpretation and report

Healthcare organizations adopting advanced tools into their health IT infrastructure are proving the value of those tools to better diagnose patients.

Digital tools are starting to be seen as a necessary for overall patient health. As these tools prove their worth, it’s important for entities to consider their IT infrastructure and what tools can be integrated to improve patient care.