National Imaging Associates (NIA), Avon, Conn, a subsidiary of Magellan Health Services, is launching CardiacConnections™, a cardiac management program designed to manage cardiac imaging based on appropriate use criteria similar to the ACR’s criteria. 

The CardiacConnections program connects patients with the most appropriate cardiac diagnostic exams, from the beginning of symptoms to resolution, by defining the most efficient path to the diagnosis and management of cardiac diseases.

The program is based on NIA’s radiology benefits management (RBM) program, which reviews and authorizes diagnostic imaging tests based on established medical necessity criteria.

NIA’s goal is to provide effective diagnostic cardiac care while reducing clinically unnecessary imaging examinations and costs. Reducing unnecessary advanced imaging exams is becoming a key issue for health care today, not only because of wasted costs, but also because of media attention about excessive, cumulative medical radiation over exposure.

“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, in an NIA press release. “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.”

According to the company, CardiacConnections“employs a nationally recognized set of evidence and consensus supported clinical algorithms and guidelines to aid decision-making.” The company also highlighted that the development of the program included an expert panel of board-certified cardiologists and cardiac radiologists.

Among the common cardiac exams included in the CardiacConnections program are stress echocardiography, nuclear cardiac studies, echocardiography, EBCT/calcium scoring, outpatient left-heart catheterization, and coronary CT angiography.

NIA also said in the release that the program was also meant to remain flexible for physicians.

Kariena Greiten, senior vice president of product innovation, NIA, said, “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.” 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.”

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.

For more information on CardiacConnections visit