The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved a new liver-scanning software to help doctors better determine the severity of damage caused by the hepatitis C virus (HCV) and other chronic liver diseases, Medscape reports.

California-based biotech Hepatiq LLC developed the new tech tool, which works by using a quantitative analysis of liver-spleen images to calculate a patient’s liver function, fibrosis and cirrhosis, as well as their hepatic and spleen volume.

Researchers say the new software works better than older methods because it focuses more on the idea of overall liver function data, rather than simply looking at the visual extent of a patient’s hepatic fibrosis.

In the recently concluded HALT-C (Hepatitis C Antiviral Long-term Treatment Against Cirrhosis) trial, Hepatiq’s medical algorithms were proven to be a highly accurate predictor of clinical outcomes for end-stage liver disease.

It is estimated that 15 percent of adults worldwide currently have chronic liver disease. In the United States, about 32,000 people die every year from hepatic conditions.