October 31, 2011 – GE Healthcare's announced in Milan, Italy, that the Lombardia Ministry of Health (MoH) purchased 135 units of GE Healthcare's pocket-sized, ultrasound medical imaging device Vscan for use by general practitioners in the region. This effort by GE Healthcare and the Lombardia MoH is not only the first of its kind for Italy, but also unique to Europe.
European healthcare systems are among the best in the world, but recent economic pressures are making it more important than ever to find new ways to increase cost-effectiveness within the system. To this end, Italy is uniquely leading a healthcare change in the Lombardia region in which, over the next couple months, general practitioners will incorporate Vscan in the physical examinations of patients with the intention of improving the overall healthcare provided to those living in the area. With the assistance, training and support of local internal medicine ultrasound specialists, the general practitioners will integrate Vscan into their daily efforts and will document the improvements the device is having on the local healthcare system across a variety of clinical areas.
Vscan is a pocket-sized, portable visualization tool developed to provide physicians with imaging capabilities at the point-of-care in many clinical, hospital or primary care settings. Roughly the size of a smartphone, Vscan houses powerful, ultra-smart ultrasound technology that provides clinicians with an immediate, non-invasive quick look inside the body. The ability to take a quick look inside the body may not only help clinicians detect disease earlier but also better triage patients to avoid sometimes unnecessary and costly testing. By using Vscan, the doctors are attempting to evaluate the clinical advantages of the technology while simultaneously documenting what impact the ultrasound device is having in improving the region's healthcare system.
"Because of the potential clinical value Vscan may provide to medical professionals around Europe and all over the world, we hope this project will be of high interest to other physicians and healthcare officials in Ministries of Health across the European Union," said Mario Lois, general manager of primary care for GE Healthcare in Europe. “The number of Vscan users in Europe continues to grow each month due to a specific mindset, strong acceptance and adoption throughout multiple medical care areas."
Since being launched in countries across Europe in 2010, thousands of medical providers have adopted Vscan across various countries, including numerous internationally recognized cardiologists such as Professors Jose Zamorano and Nuno Cardim, whose clinical study with Vscan concluded that the technology helped well-trained echocardiographers increase the number of diagnoses, reduce the number of unnecessary conventional echocardiography exams and also reduce the number of patients spending time in outpatient clinics. The impact thus helped improve the quality of care of patients and helped lower the cost of care for not only the patient but also the provider.
Other Vscan users across Europe have experienced similar benefits including Professor Petros Nihoyannopoulos, professor of cardiology at the Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital in the UK.
"The advantage for the department is tremendous as well. Using Vscan helps us triage the patients better, reduce the number of unnecessary echocardiographic examinations and saves the patients time,” said Nihoyannopoulos."
Like the positive impact using Vscan has had for Nihoyannopoulos, Cardim and Zamarano on their patients, the goal in Italy is to do the same while also demonstrating the positive impact of collaborations between the Ministry of Health and regional healthcare providers.
"We expect the Vscan units to have tremendous impact on the healthcare provided to the people of the Lombardia region," said Carlo Lucchina, M.D., general director of Lombardia Ministry of Health. "Vscan has shown potential to help physicians obtain more information, and promptly send the right patient to the right test. Considering this, we are hoping to improve the efficiency of our healthcare system in Lombardia but also validate this new approach and promote to all the other Italian regions and outside in Europe."
For more information: www.gehealthcare.com