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Diagnostics and Medical Imaging – Patient focused care

Siemens Healthcare UK : 28 January, 2011  (Special Report)
FOCUS ZONE REPORT – Siemens Healthcare is launching FAST CARE, a new technology platform for CT which is expected to offer patient benefits including shorter examination times and lower dose exposures.
The platform automates many operating procedures, allowing for simpler image acquisition, preparation, reconstruction and diagnosis to also improve CT operator workflow.

FAST CARE combines two main features: Fully Assisting Scanner Technologies (FAST) to optimise scanning efficiency and Combined Applications to Reduce Exposure (CARE) for dose reduction. The solution will be available on Somatom Definition AS scanners from March 2011 and on Definition Flash scanners from May 2011. Existing Definition product family CT scanners will also be able to upgrade to the new platform.

“FAST CARE is the first platform to combine reduced dose with optimised functionality for CT. The new technology will help improve workflow efficiency and simplify processes for radiographers,” said Russell Lodge, CT Product Manager at Siemens Healthcare. “With dose reduction features, patients will receive more efficient treatment at the lowest possible dose without affecting imaging quality.'

FAST applications include: ‘FAST Planning’ to determine scan and reconstruction areas; ‘FAST Cardio Wizard’ to help clinicians practise in preparation for cardiac examinations; and ‘FAST Scan Assistant’ and ‘FAST Scan Adjust’ to select parameters for the best possible image quality. In a single click, ‘FAST Spine’ makes considerable time savings in spine reconstructions by offering a list of typical scan regions.

CARE applications include: ‘CARE Profile’ featuring an automatic display of dose distribution; ‘CARE Dashboard’ showing which dose reduction functions are active so that they can be further optimised; and ‘CARE Child ’ which allows paediatric examinations at 70kV, significantly reducing dose. Furthermore, the ‘CARE kV’ application suggests an appropriate kV level for the patient and organ plus automatically adjusts other parameters to improve image quality and reduce dose by up to 60 percent.

Siemens Healthcare’s Magnetom Verio 3T MRI is also providing the Russells Hall Hospital, part of The Dudley Group of Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, with faster and improved quality imaging, plus enhanced patient comfort while allowing more accurate diagnoses and reduced waiting times.

The system will be used for orthopaedics, neuroimaging, oncology, arterial systems, whole body scans and other screening procedures such as a whole leg or arm in a single run.

The Magnetom Verio features a 70cm wide bore that improves patient comfort and reduces scanning anxiety. It accommodates a range of patients such as those with pain and mobility issues. With less anxiety-related movement, sharper images can be captured minimising the need for re-scans.

The system has been ordered by the Trust as part of a Managed Equipment Service (MES) partnership with Summit Healthcare and Siemens Healthcare. Siemens has a 40-year multi-vendor contract for the maintenance of all medical equipment and the supply and ongoing replacement of solutions including the Magnetom Verio. Under an additional 15-year contract, Siemens is providing IT services, including an electronic patient record system and network infrastructure.

“The MRI department continuously seeks to improve efficiency and the Verio will allow us to expand our scanning capabilities for procedures such as cartilage mapping or whole body diffusion,” said Tim Wicker, Superintendent Radiographer in MRI at Russells Hall Hospital. “We anticipate that a major benefit of the new system will be its ease of use and practical configuration such as the MRI coil arrangement. The system requires fewer coil changes, which in turn increases the number of patients we can see each day.”

“The Magnetom Verio’s excellent quality scans of up to 196cm and fast image acquisition will provide better results for patient diagnosis,” said Jane Kilkenny, MR Product Manager at Siemens Healthcare. “The system features Tim (Total imaging matrix) technology, designed to increase flexibility, accuracy and speed to make every aspect of imaging more productive.”

Siemens Healthcare is also helping patients in the Obstetrics, Gynaecology and Radiology departments of the Royal Bolton Hospital, part of Royal Bolton Hospital NHS Foundation Trust.

The patients are benefiting from increased image quality following the installation of five new Acuson S2000 2.0 Ultrasound systems from Siemens Healthcare. The systems replace older equipment and the swift installation was made possible due to the 15-year multi-vendor Managed Equipment Service (MES) agreement between the Trust and Siemens that commenced in summer 2010.

Two of the systems are situated in the Obstetrics department where they are being used for Maternal Fetal Medicine to provide early diagnosis of fetal abnormalities and scanning of high risk pregnancies. The hospital has also received the syngo Auto OB software application, which provides immediate and automated fetal biometric measurements to the sonographer without the need for manual calculations.

The main Radiology department has also received two of the systems and they are being used for general all purpose scanning plus a variety of study types including abdominal, musculoskeletal and paediatric examinations plus ultrasound-guided biopsies. The remaining S2000 2.0 has been installed in the Gynaecology department along with a 3D / 4D probe and the hospital now plans on using it to develop its offerings of 3D and 4D ultrasound.

“The systems are very user-friendly and we are really happy with them,” said Melanie Sidorczuk, Lead Sonographer at Royal Bolton Hospital. “The image quality is particularly high and with the Auto OB application we are able to speed up the fetal biometry measuring process and reduce the time that anomaly scans take to perform.”

“This multiple installation demonstrates the versatility of the S2000 as illustrated by its uses within different departments at Royal Bolton Hospital,” said Bernadette Leonard, Regional Sales and Clinical Applications Manager for Ultrasound at Siemens Healthcare. “By offering superb image quality to staff at the hospital it will help deliver increased diagnostic confidence across a range of clinical applications.”

As part of the MES agreement the hospital has also received three Ysio wi-D Digital Radiography systems from Siemens Healthcare, which each feature a wireless, portable, digital detector that can be used on the bucky table and chest stand, or removed to go below or next to the patient. Three mobile X-ray systems and one fluoroscopy suite will also be upgraded or replaced during the first year of the contract. The existing MRI system will also undergo a Siemens TIM® (Total imaging matrix) upgrade to extend its lifespan and improve service delivery.

The Siemens Healthcare MES partnership sets out a planned approach to equipment provision and affordability and guarantees the latest medical equipment, the ongoing maintenance of existing systems and user training for the lifetime of the contract.
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