Cone Health is one of the nation’s premier heart and vascular care centers due in part to its commitment to continuous improvement and investment in innovative technologies that improve patient care. The Cone Health team identified opportunities to streamline testing, achieve efficiencies in cath lab processes and improve the patient journey by reducing its reliance on stress testing for diagnosis of coronary artery disease. In seeking the most advanced solutions, the Cone Health team found HeartFlow in 2017.
As an early adopter of the CCTA-first pathway coupled with the HeartFlow Analysis, their cardiovascular program continues to demonstrate leadership in advancing the quality of heart and vascular care for patients. Hear key members of the Cone Health team discuss why they adopted the HeartFlow Analysis, the impact it’s had on patient care and key components of the program’s success in our latest case study.
Executive Director Heart & Vascular
“Looking at it from the broad overview that I have, we have a huge list of benefits that go along with having this technology.”
CT Program Lead, Imaging Cardiologist
“The HeartFlow Analysis complements our anatomical images from Coronary CT with functional information, and it also helps procedural planning for the interventional cardiologists.”
“I am impressed by the high sensitivity and specificity that the HeartFlow Analysis brings to the management of patients with coronary artery disease and stable chest pain.”
“It's really amazed me how much I've learned in the last few months about this technology and how the HeartFlow Analysis combines anatomy and function.”
By initially relying on stress tests, such as SPECT and stress echo, with Coronary Computed Tomography Angiography (CCTA) alone used as backup, the Cone Health team experienced typical rates of false positives and false negatives. The team set three key improvement goals: reduce the number of tests required of patients, reduce diagnostic caths and identify patients at-risk of recurring chest pain earlier. By achieving these goals, Cone Health anticipated a reduction in radiation exposure for patients and care teams, improved cath lab efficiencies, better utilization of resources and a reduction in costs for both the health system and patients.
The HeartFlow Analysis is a non-invasive diagnostic test that helps physicians identify the impact that blockages have on blood flow to the heart. By leveraging a standard CT, the latest advancements in AI, cloud computing and computational physiology, physicians get both anatomic and physiologic information in one test. This powerful combination of information allows physicians to clearly identify problem areas before entering the cath lab. The results are presented as a color-coded 3D model of a patient’s arteries and are available as a web application via desktop or mobile. This technology enabled the Cone Health team to better triage patients without the capital expense or investment often required when adopting new technology.
“We were early adopters of technology that enables more comprehensive evaluation of coronary artery disease by providing both anatomical and functional information and improves patients' outcomes.”
We have a comprehensive IT review process for vetting applications that go on mobile devices. Because of the ease of use and the security associated with it, we didn't run into any major red flags. The approval actually went through smoother than others.
“It really is a go to test, especially for the low-to- intermediate, but now also the higher risk patients, and it's very accurate. So I love it! SPECT imaging is probably going to take a big hit in our institution.”
Adoption of the HeartFlow Analysis at Cone Health helped the team to further enhance their cardiac program — from growing their CCTA program to achieving greater cath lab efficiencies to strengthening team collaboration. Now with a growing CCTA program with expansion plans to include three scanning locations, eleven readers, and a growing network of referring providers, their passion for adopting advanced technology paired with a well-coordinated care team is a model of success. When administrator and physician goals are aligned, optimal patient care results.
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Nakanishi, et al. J Nucl Cardiol 2016.
2. Patel, et al. N Engl J Med 2010. Patel, et al. AHJ 2014. Danad, et al. JAMA Cardiology 2017.
3. Hoffmann, et al. J Am Coll Cardiol. 2009.
4. Fairbairn, et al. Euro Heart J 2018. Patel, et al. JACC CV Imaging 2019.
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