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American Imaging Management Launches Patient Safety Program to Increase Awareness of Radiation Dose Associated with Advanced Imaging Procedures
Date:2/21/2008

DEERFIELD, Ill., Feb. 21 /PRNewswire/ -- American Imaging Management (AIM), an operating subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP), and a leading radiology benefit management and technology company with health plan clients representing over 20 million consumers, has introduced an enhanced Patient Safety Program to increase awareness of radiation dose associated with advanced imaging procedures, such as computed tomography (CT) scans and positron emission tomography (PET) scans. AIM's new program is targeted toward increasing awareness among physicians and their patients of radiation dose associated with advanced imaging and promoting the most effective use of these procedures.

AIM is launching a new interactive radiation awareness tool on its Web site (http://www.americanimaging.net) that allows users to select imaging procedures and obtain information on the use of a specific procedure and the amount of radiation associated with that procedure. AIM will also be introducing an educational campaign with physicians to raise awareness of radiation issues related to imaging in order to promote more informed decision making between physicians and their patients across the country.

"As a leader in diagnostic imaging management, AIM is committed to promoting patient safety within its programs," said David S. Harrington, chairman and chief executive officer of AIM. "Our new patient safety initiative offers physicians and their patients important information on the radiation doses associated with advanced imaging services."

As the utilization of certain advanced imaging services such as CT and PET grows, the amount of radiation exposure associated with these services has increased dramatically. According to a study by Dr. Fred A. Mettler Jr., professor emeritus in the department of radiology at the University of New Mexico, the per capita effective radiation dose from diagnostic procedures increased by over 600% between 1980 and 2006.

The rapid increase in radiation dose for consumers and the concern regarding the potentially detrimental effects of excessive radiation exposure have been the focus of American College of Radiology, as well the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Diagnostic imaging is an extremely valuable clinical tool," said AIM's Chief Medical Officer for Radiology Programs and a Board Certified Radiologist E. Maureen White, MD, MS, MBA, FACR, CPE. "Our goal is to provide physicians with easy-to-use information in support of the most optimal use of imaging for their patients."

AIM is also developing tools that will provide information to physicians at the point of ordering an advanced imaging procedure. Physicians participating in AIM's programs will be notified when they request an imaging procedure for their patient that has already been exposed to high doses of radiation from prior imaging that has been recorded within AIM's programs. The tools are expected to be available by 3rd quarter of 2008.

"Supplying information on a patient's imaging history and the amount of radiation associated with a procedure at the time the scan is ordered is of the highest value to the physician," said Dr. White. "They will have a better understanding of their patient's prior imaging activity and can use that information as part of their clinical decision-making process."

AIM is a leader in managing outpatient imaging services through innovative solutions. AIM pioneered the integration of technology and clinical content for radiology management through the introduction of web-based prior authorization in 2002. In 2006, AIM introduced OptiNet(sm) the first set of web-enabled tools to designed to promote quality and cost transparency into the selection of some of the highest value diagnostic imaging facilities.

About AIM

American Imaging Management, Inc. ("AIM") is a leading company in the radiology benefit management industry. AIM promotes the appropriate use of diagnostic imaging through the application of widely accepted clinical guidelines delivered through an innovative platform of technologies and programs. AIM pioneered the use of web technology in diagnostic imaging management and has continually integrated service and technology to create a more effective and efficient clinical review process to support the physician- patient relationship. Through a commitment to delivering excellence in clinical content, service, innovation and operational performance, AIM has developed a national client base of health plans, and currently provides management services to over 20 million health plan members. AIM is an operating subsidiary of WellPoint, Inc. (NYSE: WLP). For more information on AIM, please visit http://www.americanimaging.net.


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SOURCE American Imaging Management
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