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'Revolutionary' partnership teams MUSC with Siemens Healthineers

David Cole, MD, FACS, president of MUSC, is seated with Michael Saladin, PhD, & Patrick Cawley, MD, MUSC Health CEO, University Vice President of Health Affairs, as well as Siemens officials as they announce their partnership at a press conference.

Partners intend to lead global change in health care system

 By Leslie Cantu

Imagine a world where a patient’s profile is completely digitized into a “digital twin.” A computer can compare thousands of other digital twins to find a similar profile so doctors can begin that same treatment.

That world is one that MUSC and Siemens Healthineers hope to create together. They announced a transformational partnership that is unlike any other in MUSC’s 194-year history, says David Cole, M.D., FACS, president of MUSC.

Siemens Healthineers and MUSC outlined their joint vision: create a blue- print of a transformed health care system that provides safe, equitable, timely, effective, efficient and patient-centered care.

Creating a digital twin is a long-term idea. But the partners plan to reduce the door-to-treatment time for stroke patients in the near term. Currently, the national average time is 90 minutes, but faster times lead to better outcomes. MUSC is faster than average but further decreasing this time could reduce hospital admissions by 383 days and save $2.2 million in follow-up care and $1.7 million in long-term disability. To accomplish this, patients will go directly to the angiography room for real-time imaging, providing faster diagnosis.

MUSC and Siemens Healthineers also plan to create a digital twin of the new MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, which will allow them to test processes and workflow changes in the digital replica prior to implementation.

The MUSC Health hybrid operating room, an OR integrated with an imaging room, will also be reengineered, says Patrick J. Cawley, M.D., CEO of MUSC Health and vice president of Health Affairs.

Cole said that the two organizations have worked together for 20 years and have found their values and purpose align.

“We anticipate our global work will be transformational - remolding and establishing health care processes, systems and structures in ways that are life altering and lifesaving. Our advances will be designed with scalability and replicability. We will start here, echo across the state, and impact the world,” Cole says.

Bernd Montag, Ph.D., CEO of Siemens Healthineers, says the two organizations need each other in order to transform health care. A dialogue is necessary between the experts in medicine and the experts in technology in order to make real the possibilities of the digital revolution.

For a long time, Siemens focused on technical improvements. While these are important, they don’t address the bigger problems. “It is not only about improving the machines. It is about changing the entire system and having not only a better product but better medicine,” Montag says.

Lisa Saladin, Ph.D., executive vice president for academic affairs, and Cole say they’re excited about the opportunities the partnership will provide, exposing students to cutting-edge technology and allowing them to conduct research to show the impact these clinical changes have on patient outcomes.