13 NHS hospitals start using new tech from California-based company HeartFlow

California-based company HeartFlow's technology is being fast-tracked into NHS use through the Innovation and Technology Payment programme.


[Redwood City, California] Thirteen NHS hospitals have now introduced new technology from Redwood-City, California-based company HeartFlow, using deep learning and advanced algorithms to help clinicians diagnose coronary heart disease, that can potentially save the NHS £9.1m every year, according to the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

The HeartFlow FFRct (fractional flow reserve) Analysis has been made available to the NHS through the Innovation and Technology Payment (ITP) programme, which is currently enabling four innovations to be fast-tracked into use with the support of the Academic Health Science Networks.

HeartFlow announced that it was selected by NHS England for the ITP scheme back in April, and its solution is now expected to be rolled out across more than 35 hospitals by 2019.

The technology uses deep learning and data from a standard CT scan to create a personalised 3D model of a patient’s arteries, and then applies advanced algorithms to evaluate blood flow blockages to the heart.

This means that patients do not have to undergo unnecessary or invasive procedures as the analysis is provided to clinicians through a secure online interface that allows them to identify the best course of treatment.

The British Heart Foundation estimates that more than 2.3 million people are affected by coronary heart disease in the UK.

“In Liverpool, we have seen how the clinical introduction of the HeartFlow technology is helping improve patient management by reducing waiting times and positively influencing clinical decision making,” said Dr Timothy Fairbairn, Consultant Cardiologist at Liverpool Heart and Chest Hospital.

A NICE report, published in February 2017, found that HeartFlow's technology was non-invasive, safe and had a ‘high level of diagnostic accuracy’.

HeartFlow recently signed a research agreement with Imperial College London, described as a ‘new type of industrial collaboration’, to help experts work together on joint projects in the areas of medical imaging and deep learning.

The company landed $240m in series E funding in February to accelerate the commercial expansion of its product, with Dr John H. Stevens, President and CEO of the company, arguing that the technology was ‘poised to become the global standard of care in the diagnosis of coronary artery disease’.

Professor Tony Young, NHS England National Clinical Lead for Innovation, said:

“To allow exciting innovations to flourish and spread, NHS England has footed the bill for a select group of products, such as the HeartFlow Analysis which could reduce the need for invasive tests, so patients can benefit faster.

“From the very beginning the NHS has been at the forefront of driving innovation. As we look to develop our long-term plan, the NHS will continue to champion world-leading technology.”

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New funding to support ‘real world evaluation’ of health innovations

Leontina Postelnicu

To share tips, news or announcements, contact the writer on lpostelnicu@himss.org

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