Lucerne Cantonal Hospital is the digital pioneer of radiology in Switzerland
The Lucerne Cantonal Hospital (LUKS) is an academic teaching hospital and the largest non-university hospital in Switzerland, with three locations in Lucerne, Sursee and Wolhusen. As a pioneer of digital transformation in the Swiss healthcare market, it has its own stringent digitisation strategy. Only this year, an all-encompassing new hospital information system, LUKiS (EPIC), will become operational, with two portals – one for patients and one for referring physicians.
LUKS operates the largest radiology network in Switzerland
The Institute of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at LUKS is pursuing a suite of initiatives to optimise work processes with the help of technology. It consists of seven fully equipped radiological facilities, three of which are located in adjacent cantons. Every year, 140 employees carry out 220,000 examinations across all sites, making it the largest radiology network in Switzerland.
One and a half years ago, Dr Justus E. Roos, head of the Institute of Radiology and Nuclear Medicine at LUKS, extended the teleradiology solution in cooperation with Siemens Healthineers, with a feature permitting telescanning.
Here, a virtual cockpit (Syngo Virtual Cockpit) allows an expert to direct and control the examination via a remote connection at a peripheral location. As a result, it is possible, for example, to remotely modify the examination parameters live, check a patient’s positioning and perform the exam. The software supports up to three scanners at different locations simultaneously.
Siemens Healthineers, the manufacturer of the solution, has given Roos leeway in product development.
"We were involved in the design of the functions and, for example, had a say in the graphical user interface," he explains.
Teleradiology - 'It's almost as if you were there'
Theteleradiological examinations at LUKS are mainly used for the transfer of technical expertise, in particular for the performance of coronary CTs.
Roos explains: "It is the first time that a specialist guides and remotely controls a coronary CT within a radiology network without having to travel between different sites. With real-time audio and video, you're virtually on the spot. A nice side effect is the training. The staff are instructed and the execution of examinations are standardised within the network; this also makes the diagnoses more precise."
A win-win situation for all those involved
When Roos took over the management of the Lucerne Institute four years ago, he had previously spent almost 10 years working in the United States at two of the leading medical university hospitals, Stanford University Medical Center and Duke University Medical Center. There, he learned to appreciate the multiple benefits of the digitisation so that he has been active advancing the digitalisation process at the LUKS radiological institute.
"This solution makes sense for us from an operational and economic point of view," explains Roos. With it, the institute can operate more efficiently, and experts no longer have to travel from one location to another, while the scanner fleet can be better utilised.
"The solution has been well received by the staff," says Roos. And by him? "Any solution that makes me more efficient and effective is very welcome. Especially, if there is added value for the patient," he stresses. The benefits for patients are obvious: they no longer have to travel to a dedicated location within the network for a special examination.
Investment in the future
The introduction of new technologies is usually met with resistance. However, Roos sees this as a necessary investment in the future. He would rather shape the technological change than be overwhelmed by it.
"My job is not only to provide the best possible care for the patients, but also to ensure that my staff can keep their jobs. Both require me to prepare my institute for the future," he adds.
The next step, reveals Roos, is to expand the expertise of the Syngo Virtual Cockpit to MRIs.