Study shows Given Imaging PillCam ESO reduces prison health care costs by 90% for cirrhotic patients

Yokneam 06 October 2008Given Imaging Ltd. has published data from a pilot study that demonstrate the company's PillCam capsule endoscopy of the esophagus can significantly reduce health care costs in a prison population through on-site evaluation of esophageal varices in cirrhotic patients. Results were presented at Poster Session II of the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Gastroenterology (ACG) 2008, which took place in Orlando, Florida, October 3 to 8, 2008. The company has also launched RAPID 5 Access, new software that facilitates physicians' reading PillCam videos anytime, anywhere with the most advanced software tools. This new software also enables network-based storage of PillCam studies and the import and export of patient data to and from electronic medical record systems.ʠ


In a pilot study conducted within the Georgia Department of Corrections, the first prison in the United States to receive accreditation by the American Medical Association for its health care delivery services, PillCam ESO was used to evaluate five inmates with cirrhosis for varices, which were identified in two of them. Health care savings were calculated based on the estimated expense for prisoner transfer to a site that performs esophago-gastro-duodenoscopy - also known as EGD or upper endoscopy - and the standard charges for the EGD procedure compared with expenses for PillCam ESO capsule and remote interpretation of video results.

"Significant cost savings can be achieved when screening for varices within a prison population by bringing the PillCam ESO equipment and the procedure to the patient at the incarceration site where a trained nurse can administer the test and a physician can then remotely interpret results", stated Robert Schade, MD, Professor of Medicine, Chief, Gastro-enterology, Medical College of Georgia.

In addition, study co-author, Iryna Hepburn, MD, noted: "This screening method, combined with remote interpretation, may provide a useful tool for providing expert interpretation of GI disorders in remote or rural settings, where patients have limited access to specialist care."

"PillCam ESO 2 capsule can deliver an estimated 90 percent savings equal to $4200 per patient in prison health care costs, when compared to costly patient transport to a prison site that performs EGD and the standard charges for the procedure", stated Israel Raz, Chief Marketing Officer, Given Imaging. "Of equal importance, safety of the corrections personnel and general populace is improved by bringing the video capsule to the patient and eliminating the need for inmate transport."

Esophageal varices or enlarged veins can occur as a complication of cirrhosis and/or fibrosis of the liver. As liver cirrhosis advances, blood is restricted from flowing through the liver, which can cause esophageal veins to enlarge. It's vital to check for the initial appearance of these enlarged veins, or varices, and then to monitor for any increase in size. Roughly one-fourth of these varices eventually start to bleed and 10 percent to 20 percent of patients die within six weeks of the bleeding episode. The prevalence of liver disease among prisoners is high and is attributed to the population's high level of engagement in risky behaviours.

As for the launch of RAPID 5 Access: "RAPID 5 Access goes one step further in making PillCam capsule endoscopy fit seamlessly into the work flow of a physician's office", stated Homi Shamir, president and CEO of Given Imaging. "Integration into a facility's software system further reduces the amount of time spent on process and frees the physician and staff to spend more time caring for patients."

"Software advances, such as RAPID Access, leverage our existing IT infrastructure and allow us to more easily offer the gold standard of small bowel diagnosis, PillCam capsule endoscopy, while focusing more of our time on caring for patients", stated Scott R. Ketover, MD, Presidentʦvmp:amp; Chairman, Minnesota Gastro-enterology. "RAPID Access was very easy to implement throughout our network of offices that offer capsule endoscopy services. With RAPID Access we are able to manage the data and files created by the capsule endoscopy system much more efficiently."


RAPID 5 Access brings many advantages to the Capsule Endoscopy Programme:

  • Utilizes existing computers and network system to create, manage and store PillCam studies
  • Imports patient demographic data for easy patient check-in
  • Exports procedure reports and images for use in electronic medical record systems

In addition, RAPID 5 Access makes available all of the latest capabilities and features offered by RAPID 5, the latest PillCam capsule endoscopy reading software.


Given Imaging is redefining gastro-intestinal diagnosis by developing, producing and marketing innovative, patient-friendly products for detecting gastro-intestinal disorders. The company's technology platform is the PillCam Platform, featuring the PillCam video capsule, a disposable, miniature video camera contained in a capsule, which is ingested by the patient, a sensor array, data recorder and RAPID software.

Given Imaging markets a number of available capsules: the second-generation PillCam SB 2 video capsule to visualize the entire small intestine which is currently marketed in the United States and in more than 60 other countries; the second-generation PillCam ESO 2 video capsule to visualize the esophagus; the Agile patency capsule to determine the free passage of the PillCam capsule in the GI tract and the PillCam COLON video capsule to visualize the colon that has been cleared for marketing in the European Union. PillCam COLON has received a CE Mark, but is not cleared for marketing or available for commercial distribution in the USA.

More than 850.000 patients worldwide have benefited from the PillCam capsule endoscopy procedure. Given Imaging's headquarters, manufacturing and R&D facilities are located in Yoqneam, Israel. It has operating subsidiary companies in the United States, Germany, France, Japan, Australia and Singapore. Given Imaging's largest shareholders include Elron Electronic Industries. More company news is available in the VMW November 2005 article Given Imaging to launch advanced PillCam SB video capsule.

Leslie Versweyveld

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