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Siemens develops e-health application for German Radiology Network

Curagita Holding AG and Siemens Healthcare are jointly planning to develop and evaluate new e-health solutions for the 100 practices in the Radiologienetz Deutschland (Radiology Network Germany).

An initial pilot phase will test an e-health application in the network’s own major radiology and nuclear medicine practices in Hamburg and Munich, which will support both diagnostic processes and the quality network between the various locations. In the first stage, from mid-2016, it will be possible for the two participating reference practices within the network, and the patients themselves, to have electronic access to prostate cancer diagnosis results. Siemens will be responsible for interdisciplinary and multi-sector networking and develop the access portals. The physicians at the major practices will also test the diagnostic imaging software and Siemens’ long-term archive. The evaluation of different indicators from medical examinations and expert surveys via telemedicine will make use of a Cloud-based IT solution from Siemens.

Curagita manages the Radiology Network Germany, which currently brings together 360 radiologists in 100 independent practices and 70 hospital departments, and Deutsche Radiologienetz AG, which operates one hospital and two major radiology and nuclear medicine healthcare centres in Hamburg and Munich.

Siemens and Curagita intend to expand their existing cooperation in the area of imaging systems to include IT. The two companies have therefore agreed to test a range of applications for an e-health solution. The first pilot project involves prostate cancer diagnostics using the German Radiology Network’s RaDiagnostiX programme.

A special feature of this program is the close interdisciplinary and multi-sector cooperation between urologists and radiologists, radiotherapists and other specialists using standardised documentation and close communication. Second opinions will be sought in some instances. If requested, patients will receive a personal record document in paper form, containing a compact summary of all information and processes, which they can use to maintain their results. The associated documents have previously been forwarded in paper form, but that’s about to change.

The Siemens platform for multi-sector communication, sense,1 in Austria already tried and tested – networks the practices of physicians who are participating in the examination and diagnostic process as referring physicians or to provide first or second opinions. The programme also controls the process in which the results, which may be anonymised as appropriate, are forwarded to the competent physicians. The physicians and patients have password-protected access to their results via their own portals.

For the purpose of diagnosis using the clinical images – prostate images are just one example – the two major practices in Hamburg and Munich have comprehensively tested the diagnostic imaging software syngo.via. The application syngo.share is being tested as a VNA (Vendor Neutral Archive) for multi-location long-term archiving with a case database.

In addition, the functionalities of teamplay, an IT solution based on Cloud technologies, are also being tested. In the two practices, teamplay will help analyse the mass of information generated by Radiology, such as scanner capacity, examination times or the radiation dose applied, and will link it with other medicine and management-related parameters to create an information system for medical managers. Imaging devices can be analysed almost in real time and, based on the results, their operation can be optimized down to the individual scanner level. It is also possible to use teamplay to exchange image data with external experts, for example.2 By the end of the year, the results of the pilot study will be evaluated in conjunction with the radiological supervisory and professional committees of the German Radiology Network, and consideration will be given to implementing the program throughout the network of practices and hospital departments across Germany.

Following a successful pilot phase, we intend to become trailblazers in the task of networking with our clinical partners, with Siemens’ assistance, and to make clear our shared objective of extending high-quality patient care to the digital level,” says Dr Johannes Schmidt-Tophoff, Chairman of Curagita Holding AG and Deutsche Radiologienetz AG.

The software solutions being used here, sense, syngo.share and teamplay, form the basis for our Healthcare IT strategy, which we will now use in Germany to serve the growing demand for professional collaboration between different service providers, and incorporate the patients in the process,” says Thilo Mahr, head of Enterprise & Digital Health Services Germany at Siemens Healthcare. “In the pilot agreed upon with Curagita, we will provide a clear practical example through the use of these applications in combination.

  1. The products/features mentioned here are not commercially available in all countries. Their future availability cannot be ensured. Further details are available from the local Siemens organisations.
  2. The figures relating to this product are provisional. It is still in development and is not yet available commercially. Its future availability cannot be guaranteed.