CHARLESTON, S.C.—The Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) and Siemens Healthineers have formed a first-of-its-kind strategic partnership with the mutual goal of advancing the quality of health care in South Carolina. The partnership will capitalize on the coupling of MUSC’s clinical care, research and education expertise with Siemens Healthineers’ engineering innovations and workflow-improvement capabilities.
“We are leveraging a longstanding relationship to reshape what we can both deliver in health care,” said David J. Cole, MD, MUSC president. “Our nation is demanding that we address our fractured, costly and inefficient health care delivery systems. As the leading academic health sciences center in this state, MUSC’s purpose must be to drive the highest quality care for our patients at the lowest cost through commitment and partnerships. In discussions with the Siemens Healthineers team, we discovered a high degree of alignment with these concepts, and we are very excited to have them move forward with us. Our mutual goal is to not merely provide the best care possible for just our patients; we will define the new gold standard for others to follow.”
Specifically, this new agreement will focus on driving performance excellence at MUSC and generating significant clinical and value-driven innovations in focused target areas including pediatrics, cardiovascular care, radiology and neurosciences.
“Ultimately, our goal is to enable health care providers to get better outcomes at lower cost. We will achieve that by empowering MUSC clinicians on this journey through four specific areas of focus – expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, improving the patient experience, and digitalizing health care,” said Dave Pacitti, president of North America for Siemens Healthineers. “These four core values of Siemens Healthineers are representative of the goals of our strategic relationship with MUSC, and we hope that the spirit of this flagship partnership will initiate a trend in value based care within the industry.”
For example, MUSC and Siemens team members plan to drastically reduce the time it takes for severe stroke patients to receive treatment. The national standard for stroke care sets the goal at less than a 90-minute average from entry to the hospital to the start of the surgery to open a blocked blood vessel. While MUSC currently provides care for severe stroke patients well below that marker, this partnership creates an opportunity to do even more, with the aim of setting new industry-wide standards and increasing the number and variety of good outcomes for patients post-stroke.
“South Carolina sits within our nation’s stroke belt, and by combining a world-class stroke program with the incredible power of Siemens Healthineers, we expect to achieve a level of excellence in stroke care that has never been routinely achieved in everyday practice,” said Patrick J. Cawley, MD, MUSC Health CEO and MUSC vice president for health affairs, university. “The faster that we can get patients suffering from a stroke into treatment, the more likely a patient can return to a productive and healthy life. It’s ambitious, but it’s necessary if we want to achieve that alignment of increased efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and the highest quality of severe stroke care.”
Another example of enhanced collaboration related to the new strategic partnership is the enhanced application of “digital twin technology.” A kind of artificial intelligence, a digital twin is a digital replica of a physical asset, process, or system. A digital twin has been deployed to optimize the patient and family experience and maximize efficiency at the MUSC Shawn Jenkins Children’s Hospital and Pearl Tourville Women’s Pavilion, a new facility currently under construction on the Charleston peninsula. This digital replica enables planning teams to quickly determine the impact of changes that would be costly, if not impossible, to test in the real world, and helps them forecast how well possible workflow solutions or health innovations may actually work in that new facility.
Lisa Saladin, PhD, MUSC executive vice president for academic affairs and provost, sees the strategic partnership as capable of removing some systematic barriers to learning about and implementing health care innovations. “This partnership creates an unprecedented opportunity for MUSC students to share and learn from individuals they would otherwise not have access to in a more traditional educational setting,” she said. “I anticipate that our students will share and engage with health care data and informatics in new ways, be exposed to cutting-edge technologies designed to improve quality of patient care and provider work flows, and participate in research endeavors they never would have thought possible. This strategic partnership will better prepare them for the future of health practice.”
For decades, MUSC and Siemens Healthineers have enjoyed successful affiliations centered around the development and utilization of specialty healthcare equipment for clinical and laboratory settings. While these affiliations will continue, this strategic partnership is intended to progress the relationship to the next level by pooling resources to promote clinical innovation, research-driving development, and education.
“The partnership with MUSC is globally unique for Siemens Healthineers and a bold move for writing a new chapter for health care in the 21st century. Like no other company, we can help transform care delivery in everyday clinical practice with our innovative products and extensive experience in automation and digitalization, and bring added value to health care providers as well as patients,” said Bernd Montag, PhD, Chief Executive Officer of Siemens Healthineers. “This cooperation is a blueprint for the future trend in value-based care: taking a holistic view of the care pathway from prevention to diagnosis, therapy, and follow-ups.”
“This strategic partnership provides each of our organizations with the ability to move to a continuum that changes what we are,” Cole said. “Make no mistake, this agreement is truly revolutionary and is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Through this process, both organizations will transform health care delivery in clinical practice, open new research pathways, and greatly enhance the exposure and involvement of our students in health care innovation.”