NIA develops CardiacConnections program to drive better patient outcomes

Cardiovascular-related examinations account for more than one in three noninvasive diagnostic imaging procedures in the United States. In response to this growing trend and concerns about clinical appropriateness and affordability, National Imaging Associates (NIA), a subsidiary of Magellan Health Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:MGLN), developed CardiacConnections™, a cardiac management program designed for the benefit of patients, providers, payers, and the health care industry.

“It’s important to take a flexible, customized approach to addressing the needs of each patient. Health care should not be a ‘one size fits all’ industry”

The CardiacConnections™ program takes a comprehensive approach to managing diagnostic cardiac imaging by connecting patients with the most appropriate cardiac diagnostic exams from the beginning of symptoms to resolution. The program drives better patient outcomes by defining the most efficient path to the diagnosis and management of cardiac diseases, and in doing so, saves scarce health care dollars by reducing clinically unnecessary examinations.

“Each time a patient is referred for a cardiac imaging exam, we have the opportunity to ensure that the best diagnostic course of action is followed,” said Thomas G. Dehn, M.D., FACR, Chief Medical Officer. “By taking a responsible, evidence-based approach to the management of cardiac imaging, we can reduce unnecessary radiation exposure, minimize invasive testing, reduce unnecessary costs, and shorten the time to an accurate diagnosis. After all, any clinically unnecessary or unjustifiable exam is one exam too many.”

The CardiacConnections program employs a nationally recognized set of evidence and consensus supported clinical algorithms and guidelines to aid decision-making. This program was developed in consultation with an expert panel of board-certified cardiologists and cardiac radiologists.

“As a result of this program, patients will avoid redundant and sometimes risky tests and unnecessary cardiac catheterizations,” Dehn said. “This approach allows us to apply evidence-based guidelines based on the patient’s symptoms and medical and imaging history to promote the most clinically appropriate approach throughout the episode of care.”

This innovative approach includes the full spectrum of cardiac imaging modalities, such as stress echocardiography, nuclear cardiac studies, echocardiography, EBCT/calcium scoring, outpatient left-heart catheterization, and coronary CT angiography (CCTA).

Another hallmark of the CardiacConnections program is its flexibility, allowing partnering health plans to customize the product offering to meet the specific needs of its members.

“It’s important to take a flexible, customized approach to addressing the needs of each patient. Health care should not be a ‘one size fits all’ industry,” said Kariena Greiten, senior vice president of product innovation, NIA. “CardiacConnections demonstrates our commitment to meeting the individual needs of our customer health plans, their providers, and their members with clinically sound programs that support quality outcomes.”

Greiten added that CardiacConnections is a natural extension of NIA’s successful and respected radiology benefits management programs that review and authorize diagnostic imaging tests, based upon established medical necessity criteria. By helping to avoid unnecessary diagnostic imaging, these programs effectively improve diagnostic accuracy, reduce exposure to unnecessary and potentially harmful radiation, and lower costs for consumers as well as health care purchasers.


National Imaging Associates


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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