When Klinikum Chemnitz, Germany, looked for a new PACS, it had to be operational on virtual servers – and at the same time keep some solutions that had been implemented for the old PACS.
With 1,735 beds at four locations and over 5,600 employees, Klinikum Chemnitz is one of the largest municipal medical centers in Germany. It has been classified as a full-service hospital since late 2013. The center has multiple radiology facilities, including two radiological institutes, clinics for nuclear medicine and gynecological radiology, and an outpatient radiology unit.
Back in the early days of the new millennium, a central PACS was introduced for these facilities as part of a state-run pilot program to digitize imaging methods. All radiology units have been working entirely without film since 2004.
Ready for the Future
The digitization of radiology was part of a long-term, extensive program aimed at using modern technologies on a targeted basis to support treatment processes. For example, Chemnitz began using the first mobile tablet PCs connected via Wi-Fi with access to X-ray and other images back in 2002. Another logical step toward greater readiness for the future came in 2012, with the modernization of the PACS, which had reached its limits after more than ten years in operation and had since become outdated. What was needed was a high-performance, scalable system that would be able to cope with all of the volumes of image data created now and in the future and would fit well within the IT architecture at Klinikum Chemnitz. One condition was that the new PACS would have to be suitable for operation on virtual servers.
A Smooth Transition
After a thorough selection process, which started in the spring of 2012 and was supported by an independent consulting firm, Klinikum Chemnitz decided on syngo®.plaza in early 2013. Various benefits encouraged the center to make this choice, including a visit to the University Hospital of Würzburg, where the system has been in use since 2011.
Introduction of the new system got under way in March 2013. At the same time as the PACS migration, a new, high-performance long-term archive was also installed and the release change for the Siemens RIS was performed. The PACS migration itself encompassed not only the installation of the system and importing the data from the old system, but also the implementation of a number of customer-specific solutions in syngo.plaza. Frank Harno, an engineer with the Medical Informatics Department at Klinikum Chemnitz, commented: “The system offers so many possibilities in terms of visualization options and automation that the customizing process needs to be managed closely.” Harno was the project manager responsible for the PACS migration at the facility.
After 12 years with the old PACS, the shift was like going from a horse-drawn cart to a racecar."
Proving its Worth
Since October 2013, the new PACS has now been proving itself in practice at the two radiology institutes at the medical center; the formal acceptance of the overall system took place in December 2013, as scheduled. The radiologists were able to access existing radiology data during the migration. The migration of the long-term archive was completed in mid-2014. “By and large, everything went smoothly,” says Harno. “This was due first and foremost to the excellent project preparation and the high maturity level of the products, but also to the experienced, dedicated project team and the excellent support from Siemens.”
”Everything in Harmony”
The feedback so far has been mainly positive, especially from the radiologists. “After 12 years with our old PACS, the shift was like going from a horse-drawn cart to a racecar,” Professor Rainer Klöppel, MD, Head of the Institute of Diagnostic Imaging, says with a smile. He sees it as a critical advantage that the systems for the radiological imaging workflow come from a single source: “The standardized operating philosophy in the imaging systems, the image post-processing, interpretation and archiving, and then reading – it’s like a classical symphony, with everything in harmony. Staff can be assigned flexibly, the workflow is optimized, and the work is even enjoyable.”
Twenty-five image reading workstations were set up at the hospital. In the medium term, the team in Chemnitz is also interested in setting up a portal for radiologists. It is also planned to introduce the syngo.®via 3D1 image reading solution to further accelerate processes through close interaction with the new PACS. This has already been successfully realized in the emergency room, where image reading has to take place especially quickly.
IT specialist Harno is happy: “From an IT perspective, we always say no news is good news – since that shows that everything is running as it should.”
Christophsbad Medical Center in Göppingen, and the full-service hospital Klinikum Chemnitz have something in common: After a smooth transition to a new PACS, both German healthcare providers benefit from enhanced performance and stability and a more efficient image reading workflow.
Read the first article in the series.