Case Study Interactive: Siemens Healthineers
By digitally optimizing, integrating, and simplifying business processes, Siemens Healthineers are transforming healthcare. Since 2017, the organization's Digital Ecosystem platform has been directly addressing - and meeting - many of the challenges faced by healthcare providers across the globe.
The healthcare industry has traditionally been slow in accepting and adopting new technologies. There's a great deal of work needed if healthcare is to capitalize on the digital advances already seen in other industries, such as retail or manufacturing. And with the rise of value-based healthcare, providers are under heightened pressure not only to display increased transparency and accountability, but also to demonstrate that care pathways are both effective and efficient.
(Image source: Siemens Healthineers)
From its headquarters in Munich, Germany, Siemens Healthineers AG serves as the mother company for several medical technology businesses. Through the digitalization of healthcare, Siemens Healthineers works to enable and empower healthcare providers by assisting them on their journey towards expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, and improving the patient experience.
Siemens Healthineers announced the launch of its Siemens Healthineers Digital Ecosystem platform in February 2017, at the 55th Annual Meeting of the Health Information and Management Systems Society (HIMSS). The platform aims to foster the growth of a digital ecosystem linking healthcare providers and solution providers, on a common stage that brings together their data, applications, and services.
Developed on the foundation of Siemens' cloud-based network teamplay, the Siemens Healthineers Digital Ecosystem brings together a number of additional platforms, such as LifeNet, or the Point of Care (POC) Informatics solution from Siemens Healthineers. The Microsoft Azure cloud platform underlies the ecosystem, which currently contains several million data records.
Commercially available since the fall of 2017, the Digital Ecosystem already features applications and technologies from the likes of Arterys, Dell EMC, SecondOpinions.com, Stroll Health, SyntheticMR, 3D Slicer, TMC, USARAD, and Viewics. All of these technologies are being deployed with a common aim: to help optimize existing business processes through digital, making them more efficient, reliable, and safe.
Optimizing The Ordering Process
Imaging equipment, in vitro solutions, associated software, and services from Siemens Healthineers globally cover more than 200,000 patients per hour. With over 1,000 hospitals currently sending statistical and anonymized clinical data into the cloud, the Siemens Healthineers Digital Ecosystem provides a solid technical platform which aggregates data, performs analytics, and facilitates collaboration and the sharing of insights.
Combining and assessing data from imaging modalities, laboratory diagnostics, and medical documentation empowers healthcare professionals to identify improvement potential. And the Digital Ecosystem's enhanced tools for supply and inventory management enable care providers to quickly identify sources for the equipment and services they require, make the necessary purchases, and arrange for delivery.
The electronic interchange of orders, delivery notes, invoices, and other elements exchanged via the digital platform replace conventional paper trails, to help optimize the ordering process.
Improving Data Quality
Instant access to clinical diagnostic data from a range of sources can be of enormous benefit - for example, when it comes to the diagnosis of rare diseases, where it's essential to amass a lot of information in order to identify the best way of diagnosing and treating the patient.
By offering online catalogs to reduce errors and costs (including time-consuming errors in the orders and deliveries), the Digital Ecosystem also contributes to improving data quality throughout the healthcare value chain.
Simplifying Business Processes
The rationalization of inventories and product catalogs in the Siemens Healthineers Digital Ecosystem helps to simplify business processes for product choice and availability. Learning from other industries and their efforts in alleviating administrative tasks through automation and digitalization is another step along this path.
Through digitalization, patients are also benefiting from improved image interpretation and procedure planning. Collating multiple data sources in clinical workflows allows for more precise and cost-effective diagnostics and therapies. Through a combination of product know-how, process expertise, and data analytics, healthcare providers can in addition, reduce unplanned downtimes and improve operational efficiency.
Achieving Integration And Transparency
Historically, the lack of interoperability of healthcare systems has presented a big challenge to harnessing data effectively. To overcome this obstacle and foster greater collaboration and innovation, Siemens Healthineers has been providing, and continues to provide, network integration services. Applying IHE standards, these services allow for the cross-institutional communication and implementation of electronic health records (from an institutional to a national level), physician and patient portals, or teleradiology solutions.
The Digital Ecosystem expands upon this work. The platform allows experts to link up and communicate with their peers worldwide. And healthcare providers can benefit from Siemens Healthineers' extensive expertise in nearly all clinical areas, including experience in data security in the healthcare market. Data from imaging modalities, laboratory diagnostics, and medical documentation can be aggregated and assessed, empowering healthcare professionals to identify improvement potential. Data can also be utilized for auditing and benchmarking purposes.
Since the ecosystem is designed as an open space, it allows for application developers, service and solution providers, device manufacturers, platform developers, or data providers to create, market, and offer services efficiently. These are all seamlessly integrated into the platform, enabling new services and applications to reach the market more quickly.
By empowering healthcare providers to painlessly source the products and services they need, reducing unplanned downtimes, and improving operational efficiency through the seamless integration of a global data network on a single platform, the Siemens Healthineers Digital Ecosystem also streamlines business processes, creates transparency, and enables better decision-making.
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