AHN Orthopaedic Surgeons Explore Novel Handheld Diagnostic Technology that Allows for In-office Visualization of Knee Joints

Collaboration with Highmark Health VITAL Program Seeks to Determine Efficacy of More Immediate, Definitive and Less Expensive Assessment of Knee Injuries

PITTSBURGH – Highmark Health, Allegheny Health Network (AHN), and Trice Medical announced today a collab­o­ra­tion to eval­uate the effec­tive­ness of a novel diag­nostic arthroscopy device which enables physi­cians to conduct in-​office visu­al­iza­tion of knee joints. The part­ner­ship is supported by Highmark Health’s VITAL (Verification of Innovation by Testing, Analysis and Learning) Innovation Program. 

The mi-​eye 2™ from Trice Medical, which has been approved for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is a hand­held arthro­scope, consisting of a needle with an inte­grated camera and a light source designed for in-​office tablet-​based visu­al­iza­tion and diag­nosis of joint pain.

According to Trice Medical, there are approx­i­mately 20 million office visits annu­ally for knee-​related prob­lems. Meniscal tears are among the most common injuries seen by orthopaedic surgeons with more than 700,000 meniscal surg­eries performed annu­ally in the United States. Osteoarthritis is the most common reason for knee replace­ment with more than four million Americans who have under­gone total knee arthro­plasty (TKA) and are living with implants.

Traditionally with joint injuries the diag­nostic process can span several weeks, often including an in-​office phys­ical exam, followed by an MRI, and then a follow-​up consul­ta­tion and surgery if needed,” said Sam Akhavan, MD, AHN orthopaedic surgeon and co-​principle inves­ti­gator of the study.

The study primarily intends to eval­uate the effec­tive­ness of the mi-​eye 2 in providing a defin­i­tive diag­nosis of meniscal tears, on the patient’s first visit, at a time and cost savings rela­tive to the stan­dard diag­nostic process.

Additionally, the study will eval­uate the device’s ability to aid in surgical plan­ning, partic­u­larly for patients in need of joint replace­ment who could be candi­dates for partial knee replace­ment (uni-​compartmental arthro­plasty or UKA). Patients who undergo UKA usually spend less time in the hospital and return to normal activ­i­ties more quickly than they would with TKA

After numbing a patient’s knee, the surgeon inserts the 0.09-inch mi-​eye 2 needle containing a wide-​angle camera. With the device connected to the Trice tablet, video from the camera shows a 120-​degree view of the inte­rior of the joint. The precise view enables physi­cians to spot tears, as well as examine all three compart­ments of the knee to deter­mine if osteoarthritis is limited to a single compart­ment.

Use of the mi-​eye 2 could elim­i­nate the need for other costly diag­nostic modal­i­ties such as the MRI which, according to Trice Medical, is often incon­clu­sive or can result in false read­ings. Further, not every patient is a candi­date for MRI.

Inconclusive or false read­ings can signif­i­cantly lengthen the time from diag­nosis to recovery. When we can be more effi­cient and precise in our oper­a­tions, it means that our patients expe­ri­ence quicker and better outcomes so that they can get back to their daily lives,” said Timothy Sauber, MD, AHN orthopaedic surgeon and co-​principal inves­ti­gator of the study. 

Other study partic­i­pants include orthopaedic surgeons Patrick J. DeMeo, MD, Chair of the AHN Orthopaedic Institute, Michael Levine, MD, Darren Frank, MD, Brian Mosier, MD, Dennis Phillips, MD, Gregory Purnell, MD, Robert Schilken, MD, Scott Schweizer, MD, and Michael Seel, MD

Through the Highmark Health VITAL program, payers are able to under­stand the full impact of new tech­nolo­gies on their members without changing insur­ance medical policy prema­turely. Additionally, providers gain early access to novel tech­nolo­gies and a first-​hand under­standing of their impact on patients. In this way, tech­nology vendors have the oppor­tu­nity to prove the bene­fits of their new inno­va­tions to patients, providers and payers.

VITAL’s mission is to leverage Highmark Health’s posi­tion as one of the largest inte­grated health care delivery and financing systems in the nation in order to accel­erate the pace with which novel tech­nolo­gies and services are made avail­able to the public,” stated David Holmberg, President and CEO, Highmark Health. Our members and patients will be afforded access to safe new tech­nolo­gies that increase the quality of care and create posi­tive patient outcomes without undue finan­cial burden.” 

About Highmark Health

Highmark Health, a Pittsburgh based enter­prise that employs more than 40,000 people nation­wide and serves nearly 50 million Americans in all 50 states, is the second largest inte­grated health care delivery and financing network in the nation based on revenue. Highmark Health is the parent company of Highmark Inc., Allegheny Health Network, and HM Health Solutions. Highmark Inc. and its subsidiaries and affil­i­ates provide health insur­ance to nearly 5 million members in Pennsylvania, West Virginia and Delaware as well as dental insur­ance, vision care and related health prod­ucts through a national network of diver­si­fied busi­nesses that include United Concordia Companies, HM Insurance Group, Davis Vision and Visionworks. Allegheny Health Network is the parent company of an inte­grated delivery network that includes eight hospi­tals, more than 2,800 affil­i­ated physi­cians, ambu­la­tory surgery centers, an employed physi­cian orga­ni­za­tion, home and community-​based health services, a research insti­tute, a group purchasing orga­ni­za­tion, and health and well­ness pavil­ions in western Pennsylvania. HM Health Solutions focuses on meeting the infor­ma­tion tech­nology plat­form and other busi­ness needs of the Highmark Health enter­prise as well as unaf­fil­i­ated health insur­ance plans by providing proven busi­ness processes, expert knowl­edge and inte­grated cloud-​based plat­forms. To learn more, please visit www​.high​markhealth​.org.

For more infor­ma­tion, contact:
Candace Herrington
Allegheny Health Network412-​330‑4439