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Quality, efficiency and environment: Siemens takes sustainability as its key theme for Medica 2010

Siemens Healthcare has chosen "Sustainable healthcare. More than just green" as its slogan for Medica 2010 and at this year's trade fair in Düsseldorf will be presenting solutions that enable hospitals to achieve both their economic and their environmental goals while at the same time increasing the quality of patient care.

Innovative medical systems and high-tech building infrastructure reduce energy costs and help to improve patient care. Patients benefit, for example, from shorter waiting times and from new diagnostic and treatment methods that place less strain on the body and thus improve the quality of treatment. In addition, Siemens advises its customers on optimizing workflows, building and energy management systems and control systems as well as their IT and communications infrastructure.

Siemens Green+ Hospitals concept will help clinics to adopt a more systematic approach to sustainability, while at the same time ensuring environmental protection, economic efficiency and the best possible quality for patients. The first step toward becoming a Green+ Hospital is the Green+ Check, which uses standardized evaluation methods to determine an enterprise's actual sustainability level as well as potential areas for action to improve its sustainability. One outcome of the analysis may, for example, be that Siemens helps a customer to comply with emissions regulations and in so doing develop new solutions to counter rising electricity and gas prices. Or the hospital is given recommendations on how to respond to changes in the remuneration system by optimizing workflows and gain competitive advantages by improving the quality of medical care and patient comfort.

Green buildings: energy-efficient, sustainable and environmentally friendly

Hospitals today need to be more than just a place where people go to get healed: as well as providing the best possible patient care, it is also important for them to use energy sustainably and in an environmentally-friendly way, reduce costs and simultaneously guarantee the highest levels of safety and reliability. Modern building technologies like those offered by Siemens Building Technologies division can help hospitals to maximize the energy efficiency, sustainability and environmental friendliness of their buildings (green building). Real-life examples show that it is possible, using appropriate optimisation measures in building technology, to achieve reductions of over 25 per cent in energy consumption (and costs) as well as in CO2 emissions.

Refurbishing medical equipment

A further substantial contribution to reducing carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions can be made by the return and refurbishment of medical equipment. The product lifecycle of used equipment is extended using a quality process specially developed by Siemens, and the equipment is then resupplied to the market as 'Proven Excellence' systems. In its last business year, for example, Siemens was able in this way to help prevent the emission of as much as 20,000 tonnes of CO2 - equivalent to the power consumption of around 5,700 households. Moreover, Siemens Healthcare recently signed an agreement with World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Indonesia: from now on, for each 'Proven Excellence' system sold, a certain number of trees will be planted in Sebangau National Park, Indonesia.

New consultancy model helps to improve processes

In the healthcare system, efficiency is always closely linked to workflows. Based on models from industry, Siemens Healthcare has developed clinical process maturity models which are specifically designed for the treatment and care of stroke patients and acute coronary syndrome (heart attack) patients. This systematic approach makes it possible to evaluate the quality of clinical processes and to analyze compliance with global treatment standards and guidelines. At Medica 2010, Siemens will be presenting its new consultancy model for process maturity models in clinics for the first time.

Dose reduction in radiology and nuclear medicine

In the health care system, quality in the context of sustainability means making examinations and treatments as tolerable as possible for patients. It is also important to protect the health of hospital staff as much as possible. This is particularly true in the case of radiology and nuclear medicine, which use ionizing radiation in X-ray fluoroscopy and radiodiagnostics. For many years, Siemens has been a pioneer in the field of dose reduction in all relevant imaging procedures, such as computer tomography, interventional radiology and molecular imaging. At Medica 2010, Siemens will be presenting a whole range of "CARE" (Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure) technologies, which make it possible to reduce doses while maintaining image quality.

Efficient financing solutions

Alternative forms of financing are becoming increasing important in healthcare: A study by Siemens Financial Services (SFS) puts the tied-up capital (inefficiently used or unleveraged potential liquidity) in the German healthcare system at four billion euros - a rise of eight per cent compared with 2005. The use of alternative financing solutions would facilitate investments without tying up capital. Siemens Finance & Leasing, in collaboration with Siemens Healthcare, offers allinclusive alternative financing models for equipment, infrastructure and associated services, which create the freedom necessary for investment.

Open communications for healthcare systems

At this year's Medica, Siemens Enterprise Communications, a leading provider of solutions for corporate communications, will be presenting its multimedia hospital communications solution, HiMed, coupled with OpenScape, the latest generation of IP communications platforms and applications. Using this technology, hospitals will have access not just to the structural and economic advantages of software-based IP communications, but also to all the opportunities provided by modern unified communications applications. Innovations in the area of mobile voice/data communications and alarm and tracking systems can be used in hospitals to achieve high levels of patient satisfaction and the same time produce significant cost savings. Integrated network and communications solutions can increase the quality and efficiency of processes and simultaneously help to reduce energy and resource consumption.

The Siemens Healthcare Sector is one of the world's largest suppliers to the healthcare industry and a trendsetter in medical imaging, laboratory diagnostics, medical information technology and hearing aids. Siemens offers its customers products and solutions for the entire range of patient care from a single source – from prevention and early detection to diagnosis, and on to treatment and aftercare. By optimizing clinical workflows for the most common diseases, Siemens also makes healthcare faster, better and more cost-effective. Siemens Healthcare employs some 48,000 employees worldwide and operates around the world. In fiscal year 2010 (to September 30), the Sector posted revenue of 12.4 billion euros and profit of around 750 million euros.

The products/functions mentioned here are not yet available for purchase in some countries. Due to the legal specifications pertaining to medical devices, their future availability cannot be promised in any country. More detailed information can be obtained from the relevant local Siemens organization.

Marion Bludszuweit | Siemens Healthcare
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