Digital technologies must meet needs of patients, providers: Gerd Hoefner, Siemens Healthineers

Huge volumes of data are flowing into the cloud, from doctors’ offices and imaging centers, and remote devices and sensors worn or operated by patients

Pradeep Chakraborty
New Update
Siemens digital transformation.

Siemens Healthineers India enables healthcare providers to increase value by empowering them on their journey towards expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, and improving patient experience, all enabled by digitalizing healthcare.


It is a leading medical technology company with over 170 years of experience and 18,000 patents globally. With more than 48,000 dedicated colleagues in over 70 countries, the company will continue to innovate and shape the future of healthcare.

Here, Gerd Hoefner, MD and President, Siemens Healthcare Pvt Ltd, talks about transforming the future of healthcare in India. Excerpts from an interview:

Siemens Healthcare


DQ: Can you share your thoughts on a paradigm shift that you have you noticed in the global healthcare industry?

Gerd Hoefner: Digital technologies are transforming many industries, and healthcare is one of them. Digitalization of healthcare is the paradigm shift and the way forward. From generating, aggregating, and analyzing data, digital technologies are increasing value and improving medical outcomes at reduced costs. With Covid-19, this has become even more important.

With the aging populations, the growing prevalence of chronic diseases such as diabetes, and ever-increasing healthcare spending, healthcare providers around the world are under pressure to deliver more and better care within limited budgets. While talking to partners, we have realized that digital technologies must meet the needs of patients and providers alike.


For instance, enabling remote monitoring of patients, giving individuals knowledge and ownership of their own health and wellness, increasing accuracy, standardization, and efficiency, facilitating seamless communication among providers and health systems and leveraging AI to integrate and analyze large amounts of data.

DQ: What are Siemens Healthineers’ key India contributions vis-à-vis products and platforms built out of India?

Gerd Hoefner: At Siemens Healthineers, we contribute to the development of products and solutions of all businesses. Some of the products include syngo, the advanced visualization (AV) solution for medical imaging, Cios Fit, a multidisciplinary mobile C-arm with powerful imaging technology, teamplay, a digital health platform that enables the digital transformation of healthcare providers.


In addition, our AI-Rad companion platform is an Al-based software assistant for image reading, and Al-Pathway Companion platform supports clinical decision making based on Al.

DQ: What is Siemens Healthineers’ role in helping healthcare providers in increasing value by expanding precision medicine, transforming care delivery, improving patient experience, and digitalizing healthcare?

Gerd Hoefner: Siemens Healthineers enables healthcare providers to increase value by improving medical outcomes at reduced costs. We achieve this by:


* Expanding precision medicine by integrating relevant patient data and insights for precise diagnostics and tailoring therapy, ensuring the right treatment for the right patient at the right time.

* Transforming care delivery by automation, standardization, and optimization of clinical pathways at departmental or system level.

* Improving patient experience and outcomes by optimizing the diagnostic experience using the patient-friendly technology, reducing waiting time and travel needs.


* Digitalizing healthcare by generating high-quality medical images and analyzing laboratory and operational data to create actionable insights, using analytics and artificial intelligence.

DQ: Can you explain how AI-based software assistants designed are helping radiologists interpret medical imaging examinations?

Gerd Hoefner: We have introduced software assistants based on artificial intelligence (AI) that are designed to free radiologists from the burden of performing routine activities during medical imaging examinations. Our AI applications help healthcare practitioners in the following ways:


* Automating and standardizing examination procedures in radiology. For example, to optimize organ dose and image quality of CT examinations, special attention must be paid to correct patient positioning. We have invented FAST Integrated Workflow that helps radiologists and technicians precisely position their patients.

* To increase workflow productivity, we have designed Syngo Virtual Cockpit, a remote scanning assistant enabling a higher level of standardization for more accurate diagnoses and improves facility productivity in case of personnel shortages.

* To support image reading, we have designed Al-Rad Companion platform, an AI-based software assistant. It automatically highlights anatomies and abnormalities of multi-organ areas, including incidental findings and transfers results in structural reporting.

* To support clinical decision making, we have developed Al-Pathway Companion platform. It Integrates relevant data to facilitate diagnostics and therapy decisions along the clinical pathway and supports personalized diagnostics and therapy decisions.

DQ: How is Siemens Healthineers shaping the future of healthcare and targeting to become the "GPS of healthcare"?

Gerd Hoefner: We want to be the GPS of healthcare that leads the patient to the best possible health outcome with the help of the medical system. Digital innovation and artificial intelligence are one of our strategic focus areas. We’re already in a strong position with 45 products that employ the methods of artificial intelligence at their core.

The new advances in connected MedTech expanding the horizon of healthcare digitalization, in which cutting-edge analytics software and AI is helping doctors and hospital managers make more accurate diagnoses and better treatment decisions.

Huge volumes of data are flowing into the cloud, not just from doctors’ offices and imaging centers, but also from remote devices and sensors worn or operated by patients. The data is helping care providers to improve effectiveness and efficiencies.

Digitalization is transforming healthcare processes and business models, thus enabling healthcare providers to expand precision medicine, transform care delivery and improve the patient experience. It is largely about harnessing the vast amounts of data and putting it to work in applications.

One of our goals is to arrive at the digital twin of the body. A digital image, for example, of the heart allows us to simulate a surgical intervention or a new line of treatment. It will benefit doctors and patients by significantly improving outcomes.

DQ: What is your vision for transforming the future of healthcare in India with technologies like AI, AR/VR, holograms etc.?

Gerd Hoefner: At Siemens Healthineers, our main focus so far, was using augmented reality for education and training of medical staff. But now we are also looking a little bit further. We are working on combining augmented reality with our Cinematic Rendering technology. By blending holograms with the real medical world improves communication with referrers and patients and also offers opportunities to enhance presurgical planning.

With the visualization of Cinematic Mixed Reality holograms – the benefit for care providers is the interaction that they didn’t have before. For example, while studying parts of patient anatomy, they can zoom in, zoom out, enlarge regions of interest, rotate around it, and also slice through. So, they can see the pathology.

Imagine, instead of doctors examining clinical images on a 2D monitor, they can now explore the patient anatomy in 3D, 4D space right in front of them, and this is a complete game-changer - it brings images to life.

DQ: Siemens Healthineers has created ‘The Facebook of MedTech’ to bring together healthcare professionals to create advancement in medicine in a team effort. Can you explain this?

Gerd Hoefner: Our device neutral digital health platform, Teamplay, connects data, people, institutions, systems, and applications. It provides easy access to solutions for operational, clinical and shared decisions support and fosters cross-departmental as well as cross-institutional interoperability, while supporting the digital transformation for healthcare providers and MedTech companies.

Teamplay enables IoMT (Internet of medical things) with more than 5,000 connected institutions and 23,000 connected systems in over 60 countries, and already provides the technological infrastructure for already more than 10 million patient records. Users benefit from a broad experience in connecting devices and systems, in aggregating data from various sources, and in providing advanced analytics to gain actionable insights.

It offers a comprehensive portfolio of digital applications and software solution of Siemens Healthineers as well as applications from many value-added partners. These innovative solutions enable healthcare providers in making more informed decisions along the entire patient pathway -- helping hospitals and clinics to streamline their operations management, supporting diagnostic and therapeutic decision-making or connecting care teams and patients with patient management solutions.

Teamplay makes healthcare providers future-ready by offering innovations in digital health, including AI, and has been majorly developed by our teams at development center in Bangalore.