Blog is guest authored by Salim Abdul, Remote Services Product Owner at Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound
Large, distributed collections of medical imaging devices like ultrasound systems can be challenging. Securing remote connectivity of the devices, to manage the fleet residing within the hospital, clinic and other locations can help service engineers diagnose and troubleshoot issues—avoiding delays in patient care due to equipment downtime, while also reducing service costs.
Siemens Healthineers is a leading global medical technology company headquartered in Erlangen, Germany. The Ultrasound business area of Siemens Healthineers develops and manufactures ultrasound systems that meet the clinical, operational, and financial needs of any clinical area. In addition, they are a pioneer in the field of ICE (intracardiac echocardiography) catheters which are used for imaging during certain cardiac procedures. One key, value-add offering from Siemens Ultrasound is the aftermarket service of the medical devices once installed at customer locations.
The Ultrasound business area took on a strategic initiative to improve connectivity to its 100,000+ ultrasound devices globally. The goal was to enable reliable remote service with lower costs. It could be achieved by simplifying their existing offering to improve hospital IT connectivity, and security management. The Ultrasound business area partnered with Amazon Web Service (AWS) to build their next-generation remote service platform for their global ultrasound service.
In under a year, the Ultrasound business area was able to build and launch the AWS Remote Service platform and replace their existing legacy, on-premises remote services management solution by leveraging the technical support and guidance of the AWS team. The solution helped the Ultrasound business area reduce the time to register an ultrasound device to its remote services infrastructure from two hours to five minutes.
“AWS had ready-to-use components and services to build our platform from the ground up. In a normal setting, projects that could take up to four years was completed in less than a year. The platform will fuel the next generation of innovation within our remote services offerings, along with lower total cost of ownership,” said Salim Abdul, Remote Services Product Owner at Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound.
The foundational capability in the initial launch of the remote services platform is remote connectivity. Service Engineers can remotely connect to Siemens Healthineers ultrasound machines through a client application on their computer and provide technical support to the hospital personnel, in a secure manner.
The remote services platform leverages several AWS services such as AWS Systems Manager, AWS IoT Core, Amazon DynamoDB (DynamoDB), Elastic Load Balancing (ELB), Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) and AWS Lambda. AWS Systems Manager is used to provides a secure connection. The compute infrastructure on the cloud side includes an Amazon EC2 instance where the core service runs and several AWS Lambda functions are triggered to perform certain event driven tasks in the solution. DynamoDB is used as the database engine to provide sub-millisecond response time and ELB is used to channel traffic into the platform as seen in Figure 1.
- AWS Systems Manager is a secure end-to-end management solution for hybrid cloud environments
- AWS IoT Core lets you connect billions of IoT devices and route trillions of messages to AWS services without managing infrastructure
- Amazon DynamoDB is used as the database engine to provide sub-millisecond response time
- Elastic Load Balancing provides seamless scalability to meet network traffic requirements globally
- Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud is Secure and resizable compute capacity for virtually any workload
- AWS Lambda is a serverless, event-driven compute service that lets you run code for virtually any type of application or backend service without provisioning or managing servers
Figure 1 – High-level architecture overview
The remote services platform only requires an outbound https connection from the hospital network. This meets the security requirements and standards of the hospital IT team. There are no additional networking hardware or IT resources required to install and maintain the solution.
In addition, the solution also includes features like:
- Remote error identification
- Diagnosis and repair
- Remote application support by interacting with technicians in near real-time
- Remote software updates and upgrades
- Remote hands-on training on specific clinical applications and features (to enhance the competencies and productivity of hospital staff)
These features can significantly improve the productivity of the Ultrasound business area along with the quality and timeliness of support services, thereby improving customer satisfaction while reducing the cost of service operations.
“By working with AWS, we developed a highly-functional and secure Remote Service platform that we rolled out to our ultrasound device install base globally to provide a remote service capability in a secure and cost-effective manner,” said Salim.
By partnering with AWS, the Ultrasound business area has built a new, cloud-based remote services platform that will continue to add value for customers. In addition to reducing the registration times, the solution provides several features that improve the productivity of the Service Engineers and improves the uptime of the devices, resulting in peak performance at all times.
This is the beginning of several waves of innovative features and services that the Ultrasound business area plans to launch on the remote service platform. They will contain differentiating capabilities and value propositions such as predictive maintenance of the ultrasound devices and distributing AI-enabled clinical applications to its customers.
“The remote service platform that we launched on AWS will act as the backbone for many digital products and services to follow. We will continue to work with AWS to deliver future solutions that will significantly transform the user experience of our customers in the medical imaging industry. This is only the beginning,” said Salim.
To know what AWS can do for you contact your AWS Representative.
- AWS Helps Siemens Deliver Better Care at a Lower Cost
- Addressing Health Equity through Remote Patient Monitoring and Continuity of Care
- Realizing the Potential of Cloud Technology in Healthcare
Salim Abdul is a Software Development & Technology Leader at Siemens Healthineers Ultrasound with 20+ years of experience in product development of healthcare platforms, imaging systems and clinical applications. Key skills include Product Development, R&D Management, Functional Management, Project Management, People Management, Offshore Management, Innovation Management and Software Architecture.