Clinical staff members can experience an improvement in their daily workflows when using Siemens’ picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and radiology information systems (RIS). The software’s well-developed, role-based portals apply to the individual requirements of each user and therefore, supply him or her with exactly the functions needed in the respective situation. This concept employs the new "User-Centered Design" model. In the process of creating these user-friendly portals, first the diagnostic process is defined: Who is part of the workflow? What are the stakeholders’ tasks? Step two, the “Overview Use Case,“ follows, concentrating on the typical user in order to supply the developers, designers, and testers with accurate impressions of the user. In the last step, the "User Goal Use Case", the interactions of the staff members with the system are portrayed and early prototypes of the system are sketched out by designers. During this three-step phase, product management, analysts, and designers work closely with selected end-users using different methods, such as onsite observation in the user’s real working environment, interviews, and evaluation of early prototypes. All this leads to a software that promises easier, faster operations: only relevant information is monitored and clicks as well as mouse paths are reduced.
Additionally, the software has a strong focus on enabling both the organization and the users to meet their goals. The portals syngo® Portal Referring Physician1, syngo Portal Radiologist, syngo Portal Transcriptionist1, and syngo Portal Executive2 can already be found on the market. With syngo Portal Referring Physician, the referring physician is, for instance, able to directly schedule an examination for his or her patient in a clinic or practice, which avoids time-consuming calls between the referrer, the patient, and the imaging provider.
syngo Portal Radiologist supports the radiologist all the way from viewing images and creating reports to holding clinical conferences. syngo Portal Transcriptionist contains the functions necessary for transcription or correction of radiology reports. syngo Portal Executive2 is a business intelligence tool that points out trends, problems, and opportunities within an organization.
1 Not available for sale in the U.S. 2 Available with syngo Workflow SLR only
High-tech imaging procedures such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and computer tomography (CT) can increase legal certainty in the juridical process – however, they are not routinely used in forensic medicine for many jurisdictions. The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Clinical Forensic Imaging in Graz, Austria, aims to overcome technical challenges in order to increase the acceptance of these methods in clinical forensic medicine. It is likely that Austria will become the first country to perform forensic radiological practices regularly in forensic medicine. Clinical radiology focuses on diagnosis to assess therapeutic options for patients. Forensic medicine, in contrast, is concerned with the reconstruction of events after acts of violence and helps estimate the severity of injuries or the intensity of the contact. Especially when examining victims of violence who have fortunately survived an attack, modern diagnostic procedures may play a significant role and support the results of forensic examinations.
Radiological exams noninvasively reveal injuries inside the body. For instance, although small blood specks in the victim’s eyes are often an indicator of strangulation, MRI could document injuries of the soft tissues of the neck that are otherwise not visible. The advantages of integrating high-tech imaging into forensic medicine are undeniable and Professor Kathrin Yen, MD, Director of the Ludwig Bolztmann Institute, believes that the modern way of conserving evidence can also lead to shorter trials. The stress of interrogation would be reduced for the surviving victims while, regarding faked acts of violence, imaging would help improve legal certainty: “Such cases have been discovered with greater frequency lately. Specialized forensic medical knowledge is required for an objective analysis,” says Yen.
People suffering from violent acts can turn to the clinical forensic ambulance of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute, which is open 24 hours a day. “Due to the results of the examinations, legal measures and measures for the victim’s protection can be taken,” says Professor Josef Smolle, MD, President of the Medical University of Graz. With the examination report, physicians and victims also hold the evidence of abuse in their hands – documented forever while the visible evidence on their bodies will fade in time. With the help of Siemens, the Institute wants to overcome technical challenges: “The results of the research must be made comprehensible to medical laypersons in court through visualization techniques, and it must be possible to represent them in a verifiable way,” explains Yen. In order to read the diagnostic findings in the necessary forensic way, the radiologist will also have to attend special training courses. To enforce the standardization of the deployment of modern diagnostic procedures, the institute will publish the results of its research so they can be of use worldwide, explains Yen. The university professor also states that the new situation of radiology and forensics working so closely together is essential for forensic radiological methods.
Due to the development of medical imaging in recent years, Eva Scheurer, MD, Acting Director of the Institute, thinks it is logical that MRI and CT be used in forensic medicine. And this could happen very quickly when the standards for clinical forensic radiology are defined for Austria.