CPT code issued for MRI brain scan software by Icometrix

AMA's decision will facilitate reimbursement to consumers, including those with MS

Andrea Lobo, PhD avatar

by Andrea Lobo, PhD |

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A technician prepares a patient for an MRI scan.

Icometrix‘s quantification software for brain MRI scans has received a Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) III code, a temporary code for emerging technologies that should facilitate reimbursement.

CPT codes, issued by the American Medical Association, are designed to identify procedures and services in healthcare plans. They are used in the U.S. by Medicare, Medicaid, and commercial health plans to track the use of healthcare technologies, procedures, or services, and determine their health insurance coverage or reimbursement policy.

Icometrix’s analysis is based on artificial intelligence (AI) and provides clinically relevant measures of MRI brain images. It can assist clinicians in diagnosing, monitoring, and assessing treatment responses in people with brain disorders, including those with multiple sclerosis (MS).

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Once the new CPT code becomes active, hospitals and imaging centers can use it to submit claims for Icometrix’s AI-based quantification analysis in brain scans.

“This is a major milestone for icometrix, for the radiology and neurology communities, and most of all for patients living with neurological conditions,” Wim Van Hecke, PhD, CEO of Icometrix, said in a press release.

“As this is the first CPT code for quantitative brain MRI analysis, we are thrilled about the impact this code will have on the care and management of patients with brain disorders,” said Dirk Smeets, PhD, chief technology officer at Icometrix.

MS is a neurodegenerative disorder that occurs when the immune system mistakenly attacks the myelin sheath — the protective coating around nerve fibers that helps them send electric signals more efficiently.

MRI is the most sensitive imaging tool used to diagnose and track the progression of MS. It is based on a magnetic field and radio waves to assess the water content in tissues, which is used to create a detailed image of the brain’s structures and composition.

How MRIs are used for MS

In MS, MRI is typically used to identify lesions, which are regions where myelin has been damaged or lost and nerve cells harmed. The type of scan used can detect multiple kinds of lesions, from total lesions to lesions with active inflammation, or lesions with chronic inflammation and irreversible nerve damage. Also, doctors can use MRI to track changes in brain volume, which is another measure of neurodegeneration.

Yet, interpreting all those scans and comparing them with older ones to track changes that occurred over time is a complex and time-consuming task for radiologists.

Icometrix has an AI-based solution for MS called icobrain ms, which is designed to assist neurologists in those analyses. It objectively assesses lesions’ evolution in space and time and provides the precise volume changes in whole brain and gray matter to evaluate disease progression.

It then provides a color-coded scan pointing to the regions of damage and an intuitive report that makes it easier for doctors to read and explain to their patients.

According to the company, the software addresses the increase in radiology workload, associated with demographic and aging populations, by speeding the radiological reading by 40%. It also contributes to early diagnosis and prediction of disability and treatment response by tracking disease activity and progression.

“This recognition creates a path for icometrix’ innovative technology to be integrated into the management of multiple sclerosis and takes us one step closer to a future where precision medicine guides treatment decisions,” said Tim Coetzee, PhD, chief advocacy, services and science officer at the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.

Used for other disorders

The company also has developed solutions for several other neurological conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, epilepsy, traumatic brain injury, and stroke — all designed to examine and track brain features specific to each disease.

“With rapidly evolving technology and new treatments on the horizon for high impact diseases such as stroke, traumatic brain injury, and neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s disease, we only expect the need for quantitative imaging and assessment of brain MRI scans to increase rapidly,” said John Jordan, MD. Jordan is chairman of the American College of Radiology Commission on Neuroradiology, and chair of the Standards and Guidelines Committee of the American Society of Neuroradiology.

“As brain MRI scans are a crucial part of the diagnosis and monitoring in neurology, the quantitative analysis of the icometrix’ AI-software together with the radiological reading are needed for a data-driven clinical decision-making in neurology,” said Joseph Fritz, PhD, CEO of Dent Neurological Institute, and co-founder of NeuroNetPRO.