Siemens has developed "teamplay", a software program that makes it possible to systematically utilize data from diagnostic imaging procedures. The solution collects the metadata stored with every scan, including the time, type, and duration of an examination, as well as the radiation dose in the case of X-rays.
Based on this data, large hospitals, hospital networks, and diagnostic centers can get an overview of how many devices are being used. They can then deploy them more efficiently and develop their own goals, for example with regard to capacity utilization or radiation dose. The data is stored in a secure cloud, allowing for comparisons across multiple institutions and even third-party equipment suppliers.
Helping connect healthcare experts and increasing the usability of the wealth of medical imaging data – that's the goal of "teamplay," the new solution from Siemens Healthcare.
CT scanners, MRI scanners, X-ray machines, and ultrasound devices generate huge quantities of data. Roughly one million examinations are conducted every day just with Siemens devices. The majority of data collected in this way remains unused because it is stored in different formats and in widely dispersed locations. Experts estimate that the efficient use of this data could save hundreds of billions of dollars in the U.S. healthcare system alone.1
Intelligent comparison of huge quantities of data is making it possible to use imaging devices such as CT scanners more efficiently.
Faster Exams and Better Equipment Utilization Rates
The teamplay program combines all this data and makes it accessible for analysis. Because it is based on the DICOM standard for storing and exchanging data from medical image files, it is compatible with devices from different manufacturers.
One function of teamplay is to analyze the radiation dose used in X-ray procedures. Currently, radiation dose for certain kinds of examinations is determined on the basis of legal limits or specifically collected monitoring data. Comparing the examination data of different devices generates additional information about attainable standards. This helps operators set their own goals or optimally use their devices for each kind of examination.
Information about the type, time, and duration of examinations can be used to optimize the capacity utilization of medical imaging devices. Hospital networks can determine whether the equipment in place at a given location is being used efficiently and for the right examinations. This information can also be used to improve operating procedures. For example, the body coils of MRI scanners must be reconfigured for different kinds of examinations; knowing exactly how much time that takes can help to optimize the order of patient examinations for optimal efficiency.
While it is already very useful for an institution to analyze the usage of its own infrastructure, teamplay goes a step further. Participants can compare anonymized data with that of similar organizations in order to arrive at realistic benchmarks for their own goals. For this, Siemens Healthcare utilizes a secure and certified Microsoft Azure cloud solution in which anonymized data is stored in a way that meets international data privacy standards and the legal requirements applicable to the protection of medical data.
In the next few years, teamplay will be gradually expanded to offer further possibilities for making data transparent and data networking more efficient. Among other things, a feature is planned that allows attending physicians to securely exchange examination images. In short, teamplay is a smart data solution that allows for the systematic, worldwide aggregation of participants’ device-specific medical data. This in turn opens the door to conducting analyses that either cannot be performed today, or are performed only with great difficulty.
1IBM, McKinsey Global Institute, http://bit.ly/1qaeJ9t
Please note that teamplay and future teamplay functions may differ from the statements in this text; furthermore, teamplay may not be available in all countries.
Mr. Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner
Mr. Florian Martini
Dr. Norbert Aschenbrenner | Siemens Pictures of the Future
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