- Category: About ICUS
Launched in September 2008, the International Contrast Ultrasound Society (ICUS) grew from a grassroots group of concerned physicians into the world’s only multi-disciplinary medical society that is exclusively focused on the safe and appropriate use of contrast enhanced ultrasound (CEUS) imaging to improve patient care and save lives.
Since 2008, ICUS has quickly become the strongest and most effective voice for the CEUS field. ICUS currently has members in 58 countries, including physicians, scientists, and other ultrasound imaging professionals representing cardiology, radiology, vascular imaging, gastro-intestinal imaging, oncology, OB-GYN, hepatology, and other medical subspecialties. The ICUS Executive Board and membership roster include the world’s most respected experts and opinion leaders in the field.
As advocates for their patients, ICUS members provide a unique and powerful perspective regarding the value of appropriate CEUS imaging. They have demonstrated that CEUS improves the accuracy and reliability of conventional ultrasound images -- often reducing the need for redundant, more expensive, and sometimes riskier downstream diagnostic testing. In addition, ultrasound contrast agents do not contain dye and CEUS imaging does not expose patients to ionizing radiation, as X-ray, CT, nuclear (SPECT) imaging, PET and angiography do. Accordingly, CEUS imaging offers a favorable cost and safety profile at a time of heightened concerns regarding overall health care costs and the cumulative impact of ionizing radiation due to medical diagnostic testing.
Since its launch, ICUS has been at the forefront of CEUS education, advocacy and communications. With its pro-active, engaged executive board and team of advisors, ICUS has been able to quickly and effectively mobilize leading CEUS opinion leaders and public policy experts to provide comprehensive, scientifically-grounded CEUS-related information to key government agencies and media outlets. More specifically, since 2008, ICUS has done the following:
REGULATORY BRIEFINGS (FDA, CMS, AHRQ) -- ICUS has provided professional society briefings, position papers, and scientific materials on the safety and clinical utility of CEUS to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Coverage and Analysis Group, and Agency for Health Care Research and Quality.
REIMBURSEMENT -- ICUS is actively engaged with CMS on issues relating to reimbursement for use of ultrasound contrast agents based on Medicare HOPPS (hospital outpatient) payment rules.
PRESS RELEASES -- ICUS press releases are being picked up by over 350 mainstream media outlets including news agencies and broadcast cable and network media affiliates, as well as trade publications and other websites.
ICAEL ACCREDITATION -- ICUS worked with the Intersocietal Commission on Accreditation of Echocardiography Laboratories (ICAEL) in support of the first inclusion of CEUS in new accreditation standards for echocardiography laboratories in the U.S. Those standards now, for the first time, require use of ultrasound contrast agents to enhance images under certain defined circumstances. This recognizes the important role of ultrasound contrast agents in improving the accuracy of diagnostic ultrasound imaging.
GLOBAL PRACTICE STANDARDS -- ICUS is collaborating on the development of global practice standards for use of CEUS in liver imaging, at the request of the World Federation for Ultrasound in Medicine and Biology (WFUMB).
COMPARATIVE EFFECTIVENESS TECHNOLOGY ASSESSMENT -- ICUS successfully prompted the inclusion of CEUS in a forthcoming “comparative effectiveness” technology assessment focused on the diagnosis of women with chest pain. In fact, ICUS was able to assemble scientific data and produce a persuasive document for submission to AHRQ in only three days notice.
ICUS WEEKLY NEWS MONITORS -- ICUS produces weekly email updates containing articles about the latest developments in the CEUS field. ICUS Weekly News Monitors are emailed each Friday to all ICUS members free of charge.
ANNUAL “BUBBLE CONFERENCES” -- ICUS sponsors two annual “bubble conferences” focused on advances in the CEUS field. One is held each Fall in Chicago and the other is held each January in Rotterdam. Both conferences have expanded opportunities for communication regarding CEUS progress and challenges, networking, collaboration, and energizing the field.
INTERNATIONAL, MULTI-DISCIPLINARY COMMUNICATIONS -- ICUS has opened channels of ongoing communication and collaboration across geographical boundaries and medical sub-specialties. Serving as a unique bridge between diverse constituencies, ICUS makes possible the global cross-fertilization of ideas among CEUS experts in cardiology, radiology, vascular medicine, hepatology, and other imaging fields, including academic researchers, practicing physicians, engineers, industry representatives and others.
STRATEGIC PLAN -- The ICUS Strategic Plan anticipates further expansion of this work worldwide.
ALLIED ORGANIZATIONS -- ICUS has formalized relationships and exchanges liaisons with other professional societies in order to advance patient interests worldwide.
PRO-BONO SERVICES -- SNR Denton, an international law firm, has determined that ICUS furthers the public interest in safe, cost-effective health care. Accordingly, ICUS receives numerous services from SNR Denton on a pro bono basis, in accordance with the firm’s commitment to public service.