In the latest of a series of high-profile partnerships between technology vendors and provider organizations, Siemens Healthineers and Northwell Health have announced a research partnership that will focus on population health and measuring the effectiveness of clinical imaging.

The relationship between the organizations was announced near the end of the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America.

Katz Women's Hospital, Northwell Health
Katz Women's Hospital, Northwell Health Photo courtesy of Northwell Health Foundation

Siemens and Northwell executives say they will focus on developing research projects on clinical effectiveness and outcomes research, “using data analytics-based population health evidence” with the aim of developing care pathways that are cost-effective for providers and patients.

Siemens Healthineers is the separately managed healthcare business of Siemens AG, specializing in diagnostic and therapeutic imaging and laboratory diagnostics and molecular medicine.

Northwell, formerly known as North Shore-LIJ Health System, has ramped up research efforts into care effectiveness, and the agreement with Siemens includes funding and research support over four years for the health organization’s Imaging Clinical Effectiveness and Outcomes Research Program. As part of its contribution to the effort, Siemens will provide dedicated employees to work with Northwell Health on outcomes-based research projects and population health management.

“The Imaging Clinical Effectiveness and Outcomes Research Program is dedicated to performing the highest quality health services research to improve patient care as well as to inform health policy decisions affecting population health,” said Jason Naidich, MD, senior vice president of imaging at Northwell and chair of radiology at the Hofstra Northwell School of Medicine.

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The first fruits of the partnership were announced during the RSNA meeting. Preliminary results from the partnership’s first study, the “Value of Advanced Imaging in Improving Health Outcomes and Healthcare Spending in Acute Stroke,” indicate that advanced imaging is preferred in acute stroke care leading to improved long-term health outcomes.

The principal investigator, Pina Sanelli, MD, Vice Chair for Research at Northwell Health, noted that the optimal choice of computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) varies by patient’s specific characteristics, thus promoting a patient-centered imaging approach in which each patient receives the imaging exam that will result in best outcomes based on their own personal features.

“This partnership is first-of-its-kind for both Siemens Healthineers and Northwell Health to collaborate on research that could potentially define care pathways for various populations in the future,” said August Calhoun, senior vice president of services for Siemens Healthineers North America. “Agreements such as this are another milestone in our growth strategy of focusing on enterprise and digital services and collaborating with customers to improve healthcare.”

The Siemens-Northwell partnership is the latest in a series of HIT vendor-provider collaborations seeking to build research initiatives using data.

Recently, the University of California at San Francisco and GE Healthcare reported they are teaming up to develop advanced analytics to support the next generation of clinical decision support systems hosted on a cloud platform. The project includes the development of a library of “deep learning algorithms,” that can be embedded in decision support and aid in quicker diagnoses in acute situations such as trauma.

In addition, GE Healthcare said it is working with Boston Children’s Hospital to develop decision support software to help physicians interpret brain scans of children more quickly and accurately.

Additionally, the University of Utah Health Sciences has teamed with genomics vendor NantHealth to analyze the entire genomic profiles of 1,000 or more individuals with a history of rare or life-threatening diseases in their family histories. The goal is to identify genetic causes of 25 diseases that include multiple cancers, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic lymphocytic leukemia, autism, and epilepsy, among other hereditary conditions.

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