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By Monica E. Oss

Change comes very slowly to health care – especially when it comes to therapies based on new science. So I was surprised to learn how much progress Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation (TMS) had made in both measuring effectiveness and gaining payer coverage. These updates were part of the briefing provided by Suzanne McMonigle, Vice President, Marketing, Neuronetics; and Vic Topo, President & Chief Executive Officer, Center For Life Management during the 2014 OPEN MINDS Planning & Innovation Institute session Technology For Better Brains: The Rise Of New Treatments Based On Brain Science Innovation.

smcmonigle77TMS is the application of MRI strength magnetic field pulses to the left pre-frontal cortex, which induces an electric current in the brain and produces three biological effects – it releases neurotransmitters, increases cerebral blood flow, and increases glucose metabolism.

Since approved by the FDA, TMS has now gained coverage by 33 health plans and several managed behavioral health plans – with 94 million Americans now having TMS as a covered benefit in their health plans. Ms. McGonigle attributed this increase in coverage to the results of years of outcome studies looking at the efficacy of TMS for treatment resistant depression. The data shows successful outcomes with long-term, durable treatment effect with no side effects.



vic_topo77What does this look like in practice at a provider organization? Mr. Topo recounted how Center For Life Management implemented TMS in 2011, and was quickly won over to the usefulness of the therapy. He sees it not as the only therapy offered by CLM – but a very necessary option in giving consumers with major depression a choice in treatment modalities. It is part of what Mr. Topo referred to as CLM’s market strategy of mass customization – the ability to tailor treatments to meet the needs and preferences of a large group of consumers.

For more on TMS therapy, check out these resources in the OPEN MINDS Industry Library:

  1. Magellan, Others Approve Transcranial Magnetic Stimulation Therapy For Patients With Depression
  2. Use of Brain Imaging, Mapping, and Cognitive Tools
  3. Brainsway Finds Partners To Push Anti-Depression Technology In U.S.
  4. Technology For Better Brains
  5. ‘Must Consider’ Technology

For a process to evaluate the adoption of treatment technologies like TMS, check out my presentation from the 2013 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute – Using Technology To Improve Your Market Positioning: Understanding What Payers Want & How To Use Technology To Compete In The Payer Market Space.

And for a deeper drive on emerging treatment technologies, check out the session Strategic Technology Planning & Budgeting: Adopting EHRs, Telehealth, & Treatment Technology: A Guide For CEOs at the 2014 OPEN MINDS Technology & Informatics Institute.


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