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Teleradiology plus electronic health record

Chemnitz region setting German standards for integrated healthcare

Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH has become one of the first hospitals in Germany to link its teleradiology service with the electronic health record (EHR). This means that, effective immediately, data obtained from a remote diagnosis, e.g. computed tomography images and the corresponding findings, can be stored in a shared health record and then used for information exchange between different facilities participating in the patient's treatment. Siemens supplied and implemented the overall technical solution: This included the software for the radiological image communication as well as the Soarian Integrated Care (Soarian IC) eHealth solution for the electronic health record. In cooperation with the regional county hospitals as well as numerous practicing physicians and medical centers in its service area, Klinikum Chemnitz has thus assumed a leading role in integrated healthcare in Germany.

In teleradiology, a hospital electronically transmits X-ray exposures from imaging techniques to a specialist who is not located at the site of the examination. The specialist then transmits his findings, again by means of data communication. Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH utilizes this radiological image communication to provide, among other things, diagnostic resources and medical expertise to county hospitals, medical centers and practicing physicians. Close cooperation has already been practiced for some time in this region, especially in the fields of neurosurgery, traumatology, angiology and radiology. If, for example, a patient is delivered to a county hospital following an emergency, a diagnosis can be performed via computed tomography without always having to have a specialized expert on site. The expert responsible for Klinikum Chemnitz receives the image dataset electronically and returns his findings to the requesting unit.

Over 1600 datasets were thus transmitted during 2007 alone. With the help of Soarian IC, this data can now also be stored in a long-term health record. The advantages: A high quality of healthcare and treatment can be offered even outside of major centers, the cost effectiveness of clinics will be increased due to common utilization of the available resources, and patient satisfaction will be enhanced, since waiting periods will decrease and unnecessary patient transports can thus be avoided.

"As one of the largest hospitals in Germany and due to its wide performance spectrum and staff of medical specialists, Klinikum Chemnitz is an important partner for the hospitals in the region. Via telemedicine, we can also make this knowledge accessible outside of the clinic, i.e. across institutional borders. This offers cost-cutting potentials to the entire network and provides the patient with healthcare close to home with fewer relocations", said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Olaf Schlimpert, head of the Medical Information Technology Dept. at Klinikum Chemnitz. "In the future, not only institutional borders, but also the interfaces between outpatient, inpatient, and rehab treatment will disappear altogether. Siemens is also the partner that can support these new trends over the long term with eHealth solutions."

"Optimal communication between all participants is a basic requirement for smooth workflows in cooperations between service providers, said Volker Wetekam, Chief Executive Officer of Global Solutions, Siemens Healthcare. "With Soarian Integrated Care, we were able to offer Klinikum Chemnitz a solution for a single communications and IT platform for transsectoral cooperation."

The demographic and administrative data of a patient receiving treatment at various medical facilities can be managed in the electronic health record (EHR). The patient's medical data are saved either with or without case management. Whereas images and results from remote diagnosis previously had to be printed out and filed in paper records, all data now automatically flows from telediagnostics into an EHR, provided that the patient consents to this process. A special security concept ensures that the data is accessible only to authorized persons.

As a maximum care hospital, Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH has over 22 clinics with a capacity of approx. 1,800 planned beds and currently has around 4,000 employees. Approximately 70,000 inpatients and over 100,000 outpatients are treated here annually. With its specialized medical fields, its large medical imaging devices, the degree of digitization already existing and its IT infrastructure, Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH provides concentrated diagnostic resources as well as medical expertise for the hospitals and medical practices located in its region. Close cooperation has always been practiced between Klinikum Chemnitz gGmbH and the hospitals and outpatient healthcare facilities in the region, especially in the fields of neurosurgery, traumatology and radiology.

Siemens Healthcare is one of the world’s largest suppliers to the healthcare industry. The company is a renowned medical solutions provider with core competence and innovative strength in diagnostic and therapeutic technologies as well as in knowledge engineering, including information technology and system integration. With its laboratory diagnostics acquisitions, Siemens Healthcare is the first fully integrated diagnostics company, bringing together imaging and lab diagnostics, therapy, and healthcare information technology solutions, supplemented by consulting and support services. Siemens Healthcare delivers solutions across the entire continuum of care – from prevention and early detection, to diagnosis, therapy and care. Additionally, Siemens is the global market leader in innovative hearing instruments. The company employs more than 49,000 people worldwide and operates in 130 countries. In the fiscal year 2007 (Sept. 30), Siemens Healthcare reported sales of €9.85 billion, orders of €10.27 billion, and group profit of €1.32 billion.

Marion Bludszuweit | Siemens Healthcare
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