Manchester NHS Trust and Siemens partner to transform care
Manchester University NHS Foundation Trust (MFT), the UK’s largest NHS trust, has formed a 15-year technology partnership with Siemens Healthineers, which is set to transform patient care delivery across eight hospital sites.
The Value Partnership will ensure the provision and replacement of key radiology equipment, including more than 350 installations, over 200 of which will include critical imaging systems.
The partnership represents a large (approximately £125 million) investment in its future, set to integrate and improve the health of Greater Manchester’s population of 2.8 million, whilst providing enhanced capacity in the region’s ongoing battle against COVID-19.
Manchester faces considerable population health challenges. The Manchester Population Health Plan 2018 – 2027 identified a rapidly growing population, high levels of deprivation and inconsistencies in health outcomes across the region. Since the historic devolution deal with the government in 2016, the region has driven its own health spending and decision-making, and placed health at the centre of public policymaking.
Siemens Healthineers has a portfolio that includes AI-supported applications and digital offerings that have an increasingly important role in healthcare. The organisation’s regional companies work with healthcare providers worldwide, helping them improve the patient experience, digitalise healthcare and expand precision medicine capabilities.
Four years in the making, the Value Partnership is set to provide a boost in addressing many of the challenges highlighted in Manchester’s Population Health Plan by improving health outcomes and reducing variation in healthcare delivery across Greater Manchester’s diverse population.
With COVID-19 placing restraints on capacity, the partnership will also help alleviate the pressures of infectious disease events, providing the latest imaging equipment for rapid diagnosis, supporting enhanced treatment and outcomes.
“This is so much more than a transaction. It’s a 15-year Value Partnership, a relationship enabling us to provide the very best in care delivery for the people of Greater Manchester” Catherine Walsh, Divisional Director of Imaging for MFT said.
“Demand for our imaging services is increasing by 5 - 10% every year, yet we’ve had to reduce our throughput to deal safely with COVID-19. This new relationship gives us the confidence that we’ll be able to continue to invest in the latest technology with the flexibility to adapt it to our needs, now and into the future. All associated factors such as maintenance and budgeting are taken care of.
“Ultimately, the partnership will enable us to focus on delivering the best patient experience while at the same time helping us to attract and retain leading talent, and develop staff to unlock their full potential.”
Nancy West, Head of Enterprise Services at Siemens Healthineers in Great Britain and Ireland, explains that they will be helping to make sure the Trust is up-to-date with new technologies. “As part of the Value Partnership with MFT, we’ll manage the Trust’s vital imaging equipment, ensuring it keeps pace with the technological landscape. From selection, installation and training, through to maintenance and risk management, this is a long-term relationship to help MFT optimise operations, expand capabilities and advance innovation.
“We’ll be fully integrated into the MFT team, with dedicated on-site support and hospital-based operational points of contact. We’ll also drive further value through additional services, including the review of current processes and workflows through our Healthcare Consulting Team.”
Getting ready for cloud data-driven healthcare
As healthcare continues to recognise the value of data and digital transformation, many organisations are relying on the cloud to make their future-forward and data-centric thinking a reality. In fact, the global healthcare cloud computing market was valued at approximately $18 billion and is expected to generate around $61 billion USD by 2025.
At the forefront of these changes is the rapid adoption of cloud-based, or software-as-a-service (SaaS), applications. These apps can be used to handle patient interactions, track prescriptions, care, billing and more, and the insights derived from this important data can vastly improve operations, procurement and courses of treatment. However, before healthcare organisations can begin to dream about a true data-driven future, they have to deal with a data-driven dilemma: compliance.
Meeting regulation requirements
It’s no secret that healthcare is a highly regulated industry when it comes to data and privacy – and rightfully so. Patient records contain extremely sensitive data that, if changed or erased, could cost someone their life. This is why healthcare systems rely on legacy technologies, like Cerner and Epic EHRs, to manage patient information – the industry knows the vendors put an emphasis on making them as secure as possible.
Yet when SaaS applications are introduced and data starts being moved into them, compliance gets complicated. For example, every time a new application is introduced into an organisation, that organisation must have the vendor complete a BAA (Business Associate Agreement). This agreement essentially puts the responsibility for the safety of patients’ information — maintaining appropriate safeguards and complying with regulations — on the vendor.
However, even with these agreements in place, healthcare systems still are at risk of failing to meet compliance requirements. To comply with HIPAA, U.S. Food and Drug Administration 21 CFR Part 11 and other regulations that stipulate the need to exercise best practices to keep electronic patient data safe, healthcare organisations must maintain comprehensive audit trails – something that gets increasingly difficult when data sits in an application that resides in the vendor’s infrastructure.
Additionally, data often does not stay in the applications – instead healthcare users download, save and copy it into other business intelligence tools, creating data sprawl across the organisation and exposing patient privacy to greater risk.
With so many of these tools that are meant to spur growth and more effective care creating compliance challenges, it begs the question: how can healthcare organisations take advantage of the data they have without risking non-compliance?
Yes, healthcare organisations can adhere to regulations while also getting valuable insights from the wealth of data they have available. However, to help do this, organisations must own their data. This means data must be backed up and stored in an environment that they have control over, rather than in the SaaS vendors’ applications.
Backing up historical SaaS application data directly from an app into an organisation’s own secure cloud infrastructure, such as AWS or Microsoft Azure, makes it easier, and less costly, to maintain a digital chain of custody – or a trail of the different touchpoints of data. This not only increases the visibility and auditability of that data, but organisations can then set appropriate controls around who can access the data.
Likewise, having data from these apps located in one central, easily accessible location can decrease the number of copies floating around an organisation, reducing the surface area of exposure while also making it easier for organisations to securely pull data into business intelligence tools.
When healthcare providers have unfettered access to all their historical data, the possibilities for growth and insights are endless. For example, having ownership and ready access to authorised data can help organisations further implement and support outcome-based care. Insights enabled by this data will help inform diagnoses, prescriptions, treatment plans and more, which benefits not only the patient, but the healthcare ecosystem as a whole.
To keep optimising and improving care, healthcare systems must take advantage of new tools like SaaS applications. By backing up and owning their historical SaaS application data, they can do so while minimising the risk to patient privacy or compliance requirements. Having this ownership and access can propel healthcare organisations to be more data-driven – creating better outcomes for everyone.