Our first day at ASTRO 2016 (American Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology) was a very successful one.  We had the opportunity to present our technology and to field questions from attendees of the conference.  One theme that continued throughout the day was hyperthermia reimbursement. What we learned; patient outcomes were still very important to physicians, but its all about the RVUs.

astro skybridge

Doctors’ time and energy are not always measured in lives saved, and patient wellness. Now they need to devote part of their busy days on managing RVUs. Relative Value Units are a measure of value used in the United States Medicare reimbursement formula for physician services.  RVUs are part of the system Medicare uses to decide how much it will reimburse physicians for each of the 9,000-plus services and procedures covered under its Physician Fee Schedule, and which are assigned current procedural terminology (CPT) code numbers. A well patient visit, for example, would be assigned a lower RVU than an invasive surgical procedure.

astro crowds

Hyperthermia is a non-invasive treatment that increases the patients chances of beating cancer. How does Hyperthermia play in the RVU system? What we learned is that hospitals and cancer centers need to be competitive to attract new patients. Although it is been clinically proven that hyperthermia treatment improves cancer outcomes, it is not in every hospital and cancer center.  And limited resource creates higher demand. Centers need to attract patients outside of the facilities geographic radius in order to stay in business.

“Speaking with our Pyrexar installed base in the US, we are finding patients are requesting hyperthermia and traveling outside their local cancer centers to receive treatment” says Mark Kidd, VP Sales at Pyrexar. “Bringing in patients by offering the latest in cancer technology means more revenue for the center..

A high-point of the show was an impromptu presentation by Dr. Daoke Yang on the advances of hyperthermia in China.  Dr. Yang is the head of oncology for the First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University. Dr. Yang presented clinical data to support the benefits of hyperthermia as an adjunct to chemotherapy and radiotherapy. And explained in great detail, the triggered immune response when heat is applied to tumor cells.

dr yang presentation

First Affiliated Hospital of Zhengzhou University is the largest hospital in the world. With over 10,000 beds (after the hospital's latest expansion opening Q1 2017), the hospital is not only the largest in the world, but nearly three times larger than the world’s second largest hospital in Belgrade, Serbia.

zhangzhou university

A special thanks to Mrs. Wang, president of Orientech Dalian, for orchestrating the visit. We are expecting to place several Pyrexar Hyperthermia systems in ZhengZhou early next year.

ASTRO beforeSaturday was set-up day for Pyrexar at the ASTRO 2016. The exhibition, held at the Boston Convention Center, is expected to draw 10,000 radiation oncologist, physicist and therapists from around the globe. This year we had a nice in-line space across the isle from one of our customers, 21st Century Oncology.  Their Fort Meyers, FL location uses a BSD-500 Superficial/Interstitial Hyperthermia System to treat a variety of cancers including recurrent chest wall tumors and melanoma.

astro cratesastro open crates

Crates arrived on time and the booth will be ready to go for Sunday’s exhibition opening. Watch for tomorrow's blog to see the booth.

On September 5th, the United States observed Labor Day.  This national holiday honors the creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers.

Even though iconic brands like Apple, Levi and Rawlings (the official baseball of the MLB is made in Costa Rica) are no longer manufactured in the U.S.A, the U.S. is still a manufacturing powerhouse. Especially when it comes to providing the world with advanced medical devices. According to the International Monetary fund, the U.S. exports a whopping $85 billion in medical devices. Although some brands have moved their manufacturing overseas, “Made In America” is still very sought after when it comes to medicine.

dalian sfogroup photo includes members from Dalian Orientech, Dalian Municipal Central Hospital and Pyrexar Medical.

That is why it was not surprising that when representatives from Dalian Municipal Central Hospital in China were ready to invest in new medical technologies, they came to the U.S. to do some shopping.  China is the second largest medical device market in the world. In addition to having the world’s largest population, the Chinese government has invested heavily in healthcare infrastructure with basic healthcare for all citizens. Although it possesses its own medical device industry, it often looks to the United States for advanced technology products.

Dr. Wang, president of Dalian Municipal Central Hospital, met with Pyrexar CEO, Mark Falkowski to talk about hyperthermia as a vital treatment to fight cancer in China.  Pyrexar continues it expanse into China with the assistance of our long time distributor Dalian Orientech Co.,Ltd.