HeartFlow has announced that National Health Service England (NHSE) and NHS Improvement have mandated that English hospitals adopt the AI-powered HeartFlow FFRct analysis system in patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).
The HeartFlow analysis has been selected as one of the innovations supported by NHSE’s new MedTech funding mandate, beginning on 1 April 2021, which aims to provide faster access to innovative medical devices and digital technologies. The mandate includes the option to extend funding for up to an additional three years through 31 March 2024.
The news comes as HeartFlow announced it also has received extended funding through NHSE’s Innovation and Technology Payment Programme (ITP) for a third year. The programme seeks to accelerate the uptake of innovations in the health service by removing financial barriers, with funding available until 31 March 2021.
The HeartFlow Analysis takes data from a coronary CT angiography (CTA) scan and uses deep learning technology and analysts to create a personalised, digital 3D model of the patient’s coronary arteries. Its algorithms solve millions of equations to simulate blood flow in a patient’s arteries to help clinicians assess the functional impact of any blockages, the company said in a press release.
Anna Beattie, consultant cardiothoracic radiologist at Newcastle Hospitals, Newcastle, England, says: “We have used the HeartFlow Analysis in Newcastle Hospitals since August 2018. It has contributed to significant changes in the way we diagnose patients and use hospital resources. Prior to adopting the technology, we used a coronary CT-first approach for 28% of all patients referred to our rapid access chest pain clinic. Now that has risen to more than 45% and the number of diagnostic-only invasive angiograms we perform has reduced. The HeartFlow Analysis is a great tool to supplement a CT-first approach by providing functional information on top of the anatomical information from a CT scan. This is great for patients as it reduces unnecessary risks and means they spend less time at the hospital.”
Timothy Fairbairn, consultant cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital, Liverpool, UK says: “In our practice, four out of five patients who have a HeartFlow analysis avoid the need for further invasive testing. This enables us to treat patients more quickly, leading to an improved patient experience and has had a positive impact on our waiting times for other non-invasive stress tests.”
HeartFlow’s technology is used in 60 NHSE hospitals, and the extension of the ITP and introduction of the MedTech funding mandate will allow hospitals to continue providing the technology to patients and accelerate adoption of the technology in hospitals throughout the country.
Lance Scott, chief commercial officer at HeartFlow concludes: “The new MedTech funding mandate helps bring world-leading medical innovations to patients across NHSE hospitals. The HeartFlow analysis is already available in a number of English hospitals, and today’s announcement, coupled with the immediate funding unlocked through the ITP programme, means we can rapidly scale and ensure more clinicians across England have access to the HeartFlow Analysis to non-invasively diagnose CHD and formulate treatment plans for their patients.”