Highmark, Inc. joins numerous payors in creating positive medical policy for WATS3D and opening participation in their networks.
SUFFERN, NY (May 19, 2022) – WATS3D, an AI powered diagnostic platform developed by CDx Diagnostics to empower physicians to reliably detect Barrett’s esophagus (BE) and esophageal dysplasia to help prevent esophageal cancer, was designated as medically necessary by Highmark, Inc. health plans in Delaware, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia in Q4 2021. CDx Diagnostics is pleased to share, that effective immediately, WATS3D is now considered an in-network procedure as CDx Diagnostics participates in the Commercial and Medicare networks of these Highmark, Inc. plans.
Clinically proven to significantly increase the detection rate of BE, pre-cancer, and cancerous cells in the esophagus compared to the traditional screening methods, WATS3D is now a covered benefit for more than 3.6 million Highmark members. The computer-assisted procedure, which is intended as an adjunct to standard four-quadrant biopsies for screening, diagnosis, or surveillance of cancerous or precancerous esophageal lesions, may be considered medically necessary for the surveillance of both Barrett’s Esophagus and chronic gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD).
“Using artificial intelligence to reliably detect precancerous cells is truly remarkable science. Empowering physicians to preempt esophageal cancer and improve patient lives is what drives us. We are therefore delighted to announce Highmark's decision to issue a positive medical policy for WATS3D because it means a total of 36 million contracted health plan members now have access to our life-saving technology.” said Bill Huffnagle, CEO of CDx Diagnostics.
WATS3D technology helps clinicians to overcome the limitations associated with traditional upper endoscopy screening and surveillance methods, by combining a specially designed brush, unique 3D imaging powered by artificial intelligence, and a team of trained GI pathologists. In large multicenter clinical studies, WATS3D has been found to significantly increase the detection rate of BE and esophageal dysplasia, both treatable precursors to esophageal cancer, one of the fastest growing and most fatal cancers in the United States.
WATS3D testing meets the five pillars of evidence-based medicine typically required by insurance payors: analytic validity, clinical validity, clinical utility, cost-effectiveness, and recommendations by major medical societies. The American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE), the Society of American Gastrointestinal and Endoscopic Surgeons (SAGES), and the American Foregut Society (AFS) each currently include WATS3D testing in their recommendations.
Since 2019, the ASGE has included WATS3D in its Standards of Practice Committee’s guideline for the screening and surveillance of BE. In 2020, the technology was deemed a safe and effective adjunct to forceps biopsies in the evaluation of BE, low-grade dysplasia, and high-grade dysplasia by SAGES Technology and Value Assessment Committee (TAVAC).