medneo enables patient care in rural areas with high-end examinations using mobile MRI in the HerzCheck project
- Mobile high-end MRI examinations throughout Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
- Better patient care through telemedicine
Berlin, July 8, 2021 - Providing rural areas with high-quality medical examinations is a priority challenge. The HerzCheck project aims to solve that. A mobile MRI, which the Berlin-based company medneo is providing along with specialist staff and comprehensive IT infrastructure, is touring the countryside and thus realizing cardiac examinations in structurally weaker regions. "Cardiac MRI is the emperor discipline of imaging and until now has been offered almost exclusively in specialized centers in large cities. Now we can bring high-end examinations to local people," says Prof. Dr. Alexander Huppertz, radiologist and initiator of the HerzCheck project, illustrating the innovative power of the mobile MRI.
High-end examinations in rural areas
Brandenburg and Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are typical rural areas with a low population density and many elderly people. This makes it all the more important to ensure care close to home - especially for diseases that require state-of-the-art medicine. One example is cardiovascular disease, the most common cause of death in Germany. In particular, the incidence of asymptomatic (symptom-free) heart failure is steadily increasing, with around 2.5 million people currently suffering from it. If it is detected early and treated in a targeted manner, patients' quality of life and life expectancy can be increased.
This is precisely what the innovative HerzCheck project aims to do. With the help of a mobile MRI unit from medneo, including IT infrastructure and telemedical support from specialized physicians with many years of experience, high-tech medicine will be available to everyone in the northeastern German states. The project is being funded by the Innovation Fund of the Joint Federal Committee (G-BA) for a total of three years. During this time, up to 6,000 patients are to be examined. In addition to medneo, the consortium partners are the German Heart Institute Berlin (DHZB), the AOK Nordost, the Heart and Vascular Center Bad Bevensen, the University Medical Center Göttingen and the University Hospitals of Heidelberg and Cologne. The consortium leader is Prof. Dr. Sebastian Kelle, specialist in internal medicine and cardiology, senior physician at the DHZB and university professor at Charité. The project is coordinated by Prof. Dr. Alexander Huppertz, a specialist in diagnostic radiology and professor at the University of Potsdam.
High-tech for heart health
For HerzCheck, medneo provides specially converted trailers with state-of-the-art MRI diagnostics, including medical staff and IT technology. They are set up at regional clinics or outpatient facilities, where they can be visited by invited patients. The examination takes only ten to 15 minutes.
Afterwards, the examination data is sent online to a specialist at the DHZB for reporting, in compliance with all data protection regulations. The findings, together with recommendations for further treatment, are sent to the patients' general practitioners. They then take care of the patient's care and therapy.
"We are proud to lay the foundation for this innovative project," says Dr. Matthias Issing, Co-Founder and Managing Director of medneo. "With our high-tech equipment, IT infrastructure and operational know-how, we are closing a gap in care in a resource-efficient way."
In addition to the mobile MRI units in the HerzCheck project, medneo currently operates a total of three trailer solutions and 18 fixed diagnostic centers in Germany, for example at Sana Hospital Templin, in Potsdam and Berlin. In addition, there are another ten diagnostic centers in Switzerland and Great Britain (eight mobile and two fixed).
Close cooperation with local physicians
The HerzCheck project has now been officially launched by Brandenburg's Minister of Health Ursula Nonnemacher at the first MRI site at Sana Hospital in Templin. "Providing care in rural areas is a major challenge. To achieve this, we must use the opportunities offered by digitalization. Telemedicine in particular will play a greater role in the future in order to make state-of-the-art technology available nationwide and independent of centers. HerzCheck and mobile MRI are good examples of this. Both offer great potential for prevention and treatment," said the health minister.
This aspect was also emphasized by Prof. Dr. Kelle in his statement: "Today, we can make tele- and high-end medicine available almost everywhere. HerzCheck proves that it is possible to raise the level of care to that of a university, even outside large cities. However, close cooperation with local physicians who care for their patients around the checkup is important."
Early detection improves quality of life and saves money
AOK Nordost, one of the consortium partners, serves about 1.7 million insured patients, about 90,000 of whom already have heart failure. "We want to fulfill our performance promise to our insureds," says CEO Daniela Teichert, "and to this end we want to increasingly ensure care in rural areas through the use of modern technology. Particularly in the case of cardiovascular diseases, early detection and timely care help us to improve the prognosis for patients and enable them to live more comfortably with the disease. Mobile units like medneo's are an important component in the comprehensive care of rural regions, as the way to an MRI is otherwise often too far."
The scientific monitoring of the project is particularly important to her. "We need valid results to be able to ensure sustainable operation. The study should show whether and to what extent the prognosis of patients can be improved with the help of modern care strategies. If positive effects are seen here, we have a good chance that this care will be available to everyone in the future," says Daniela Teichert.
medneo is an innovative company headquartered in Berlin that specializes in "Radiology as a Service" - a new operator model for radiology - for the outpatient and inpatient sector. In doing so, medneo transforms a classic hardware business into a service business. Founded in 2011 by André Glardon, Dr. Matthias Issing and Nicolas Weber, the company offers diagnostics-on-demand to physicians, hospitals and research institutions. medneo delivers clinical images instead of equipment - a revolutionary idea that remains the key to its success today.
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