Economics of Diagnostic Bronchoscopy

Keeping in mind the “Product Mindset” which the Body Vision team operates with, we have worked hard to ensure that we consider how to improve the navigation bronchoscopy space as a whole, not just as a single product.

What this means is that as we are working with physicians to craft a product, we are listening to them to understand their clinical needs as much as we are listening to them in terms of what is sustainable from a financial perspective.

One of the main questions we asked ourselves when setting out to develop the LUNGVISION™ Platform is this: How can we help make early stage lung cancer diagnostics and treatment accessible to more physicians, hospitals, and, ultimately, patients? Instead of taking the very common approach of throwing more layers of technical complexity into an already complicated healthcare system, we decided to take a step out of our comfort zone and challenge ourselves by the clear desire of our customers to both significantly improve clinical outcomes, while also lowering the cost of these types of procedures.

Technological change occurs at an exponential rate and as part of that evolution, experts--in this case, developers--learn how to both improve the technology and make it more accessible to their customers.

Consider GPS systems in our cars, for example. The Etak Navigator was the first navigation system to be installed in a car in the US in 1985, costing roughly $1500, or $15% of a luxury Chrysler, and required multiple cassette tapes to navigate around one city. Over the years, navigation improved until Garmin made the first “standalone” or “portable” navigation system in 1998, costing $550 per unit. Fast forward to present day, there are now multiple free apps available for our cell phones that are not only extremely accurate navigation systems that offer multiple/alternative routes, but they are also capable of providing real time traffic information to allow the driver to choose the best route at any given moment.

Translating this to navigation bronchoscopy, in the past, this space has worked with electromagnetic-based systems to understand 3D positioning relative to a lesion. Historically, these systems have required extensive proprietary hardware and disposables with electromagnetic sensors that forced high utilization costs. However, by utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence, we have been able to advance and evolve the fundamental technology behind navigation bronchoscopy, taking this procedure to a new level of performance with a much lower financial burden on the healthcare system.

That said, with the LUNGVISION™ platform, there is no electromagnetic component at all. We have been able to eliminate the electromagnetic board, the sensors that ENB requires in the distal tip of the navigation catheters, cables around the patient, positioning patches, etc. and develop a simple, convenient and accurate system that is seamlessly integrated in the operating room. What we have done is essentially removed the hardware component, moving our navigation bronchoscopy to a software-based procedure, where the complexity is well managed by our experienced software engineering team.

With the LUNGVISION™ platform, we are able to streamline and get rid of redundant equipment, maximize the abilities of the equipment that already exists and is accessible to bronchoscopists within the hospital. This technology is a complete procedure solution, offering real-time navigation guidance and assistance from scope in to scope out. This translates to significant reduction in both implementation and operating costs, which in turn allows more hospitals to use this technology to diagnose more early-stage lung lesions, positively impacting more patients.

We are continuing to strive towards delivering not only a clinically superior product but also a financially superior product.

In our next post, we will hear from a physician on their perspective of how the cost of providing top notch care needs to balance with the financial side of the house.