RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG | 09/18/2007

RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG and Siemens AG Medical Solutions introduce intra-facility electronic patient file (WebEPA) – One of Europe’s biggest e-health projects is launched

RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG will link up all its facilities, currently numbering 46, using a web-based electronic patient file (WebEPA) and will launch a web-based electronic patient file (WebEPA). In future the aim of this system is to benefit the more than 1 million patients the Group treats each year with provably higher treatment quality. Siemens Medical Solutions, working together with Soarian Integrated Care (Soarian IC), will provide the software for the WebEPA. This is what is provided for in the agreement signed today in Bad Neustadt a. d. S. between Wolfgang Pföhler, Chairman of the Board of Management of RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG, and Prof. Dr. Erich R. Reinhardt, Member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG and President of Siemens Medical Solutions. With the WebEPA – one of the biggest e-health projects on the European health market – both partners underscore their pioneering role in integrated healthcare delivery that is wholly oriented to the needs of patients.

The WebEPA is a jointly developed electronic platform allowing for medical data to be exchanged between institutions and facilities within the healthcare system Germany-wide. It will enable communication between the various clinical documentation, hospital information, image storage and doctor’s practice systems at a total of 46 hospitals and the respective medical care centres (MVZs) of the RHÖN-KLINIKUM Group. With the patient’s consent, it will thus be possible for information such as admissions, discharge letters and findings to be exchanged between those doctors involved in that patient’s treatment. The roll-out the WebEPA throughout the Group comes after its successful testing in a pilot project at Herzzentrum Leipzig (University Hospital) and Parkkrankenhaus Leipzig-Südost – both facilities of RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG. After that an extension of the co-operation to the outpatient area, in particular community-based doctors, is planned.

The software components of the WebEPA developed by Siemens, based on Soarian IC, include reports, images and medical data relating to findings, a module for consultations among physicians as well as what is referred to as a master patient index (MPI) allowing clear identification of patients beyond a facility’s boundaries. The contractual parties see this joint further development of the WebEPA as the opportunity to establish a market standard for an interoperable structure spanning the various healthcare sectors allowing for process-oriented co-operation and co-productions of service partnerships in the fast-changing healthcare system.

With this project Siemens will further expand its leading position on the European e-health sector. Here, Siemens expertise ranges from regional to national networking of the providers involved. One current example comes from France, where Siemens implemented some 5,000 electronic patient files in the entire region of Limousin which are already being used there as part of a pilot project – in both the outpatient and inpatient areas. And in Scotland a screening programme for the early detection of diabetic retinopathy with 213,000 registered patients has been under way for over a year. In Germany, Siemens will conclude framework agreements for connectors (interfaces between existing information systems and central telematic services) and lead the market for these in the field tests to be launched in the spring.

RHÖN-KLINIKUM AG has moreover joined together with other hospitals, public facilities and the Fraunhofer Institute of Software and Systems Engineering (ISST) as part of the electronic case file (eFA) project to form an open consortium, and has chosen Siemens as its industrial partner. Siemens and RHÖN-KLINIKUM are jointly working on the specification for the eFA. In future the WebEPA will pool all data of a treatment case based on the eFA standard, thus giving the treating physicians a secure means of exchanging data both between the different healthcare sectors and hospitals. The contractual parties expect the eFA to make an important contribution towards optimising patient care as part of the Germany-wide communication platform – the telematic infrastructure – being planned by the German Federal Ministry of Health.

“The WebEPA will be key to a big leap forward in the quality of patient care. It pools a patient's medically relevant information from the integrated providers, thus helping the treating doctors with important diagnosis and therapy decisions. That will also cut costs in healthcare. Today we have thus taken another big step towards realising our corporate vision of making good medicine affordable to all”, Wolfgang Pföhler said.

“Thanks to our comprehensive healthcare IT solution, we are enabling processes to be optimised across sectors and for integrated and efficient treatment procedures to be developed between the various providers in the healthcare system –  all with a view to making patients the focus of interest in treatments”, explained Prof. Dr. Erich R. Reinhardt. This is made possible by Siemens combined know-how and experience as the world’s first integrated diagnostics company in the fields of imaging diagnostics and therapy, lab medicine and clinical information systems. The objective is to enhance the quality of medical care whilst reducing costs.