Philips inks $100M contract with VA, GE’s AI deal, plus more radiology vendor news

Royal Philips has signed a more than $100 million contract with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the company announced Wednesday.

Under the deal, the Amsterdam-based imaging giant will help the VA to expand its telecritical care program, creating what officials believe will be the world’s largest remote intensive care service. The 10-year contract includes investment in care tools such as diagnostic imaging, sleep solutions and patient monitoring.

“VA’s relationship with Philips will help to expand and improve our telecritical care program. This is particularly critical to provide veterans access to quality healthcare when and where they need it and for improving their health outcomes,” U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Robert Wilkie said in a statement issued July 8.

The VA is the largest integrated delivery system in the country, the partners noted, with 1,700 care sites serving more than 9 million patients annually. During the pandemic, the VA has expanded weekly at-home video appointments from just 12,000 prior to COVID, up to 120,000.

More than 50% of VA hospitals or Veterans Integrated Service Networks use Philips’ diagnostic imaging technology, they noted.

GE Healthcare’s AI lung-imaging assistant

University Hospitals Cleveland Medical Center is the first provider to utilize a new artificial intelligence tool from GE Healthcare.

Radiologists there are making use of the Chicago-based company’s new mobile x-ray system to help flag and triage collapsed lung cases. GE claims this is the world’s first on-device AI solution for notification of errors or critical findings in lung x-rays, according to a July 7 announcement.

UH first started testing the AI algorithm back in November, and recently began using it in regular clinical practice, flagging upward of 15 collapsed-lung cases per day.

Intermountain inks radiology benefits management agreement

Hospital giant Intermountain Healthcare recently signed a multi-year agreement with radiology benefits manager Care to Care.

The vendor will serve as the Las Vegas-based provider’s exclusive benefits overseer, helping to ensure the “safe use” of advanced imaging services, and docs’ adherence to evidence-based guidelines.

New York-based Care to Care will specifically oversee outpatient advanced imaging for Intermountain’s health plan members, including MRI, CT, PET and nuclear cardiology. Their goal, the partners said, is to promote “a culture of increasingly thoughtful and judicious use of medical imaging.”

“Intermountain Healthcare is eager to move the radiology benefit program forward with Care to Care as its new partner. Flexibility, quality and service to our population were critical in the decision to use Care to Care”, Steven Evans, MD, Intermountain Healthcare’s senior medical director of utilization management, said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Sectra signs enterprise deal with Christus Health

PACS vendor Sectra recently inked a new contract with Texas hospital giant Christus Health System.

Under the deal announced on Tuesday, the Swedish firm will install its enterprise imaging solution in “many” of CHS’ locations. That includes 30 hospitals and multiple imaging centers, officials noted.

Sectra said the agreement covers modules across radiology, cardiology and mammography, along with a vendor-neutral archive for storing all departmental imaging.

Fujifilm forms partnership with emergency docs

Imaging manufacturer Fujifilm recently announced a new partnership with the American College of Emergency Physicians to explore ultrasound’s use in assessing COVID-19.

As part of the agreement, Tokyo-headquartered Fujifilm is offering up a $90,000 research grant to interested docs.

"From an early stage in this pandemic, we learned how frontline emergency physicians were using point-of-care ultrasound to assess this deadly illness. Despite their remarkable progress, we recognized more research was required as unfortunately the pandemic continues to grow," Diku Mandavia, MD, chief medical officer of Fujifilm Sonosite, said in a July 1 announcement.

They’re accepting grant proposals until Aug. 21 and plan to highlight winners at an event in September.