NHS Scotland completes nationwide roll-out of Diabetes Retinopathy Screening Service

Frimley 22 August 2007National Health Service (NHS) Scotland has completed the roll-out of a country wide diabetic's retinopathy screening service, in response to the worldwide rise in chronic diseases. With an estimated 150.000 diabetic people in Scotland in 2006 and the figure likely to double by 2010, NHS Scotland worked with Siemens Medical Solutions to implement annual retinal screening to substantially reduce the suffering caused by diabetes.


With diabetic retinopathy the leading cause of blindness of patients of working age and representing a significant workload for the health service, NHS Scotland chose diabetic retinopathy screening as a key new service. With appropriate ophthalmological intervention it has been estimated that blindness may be prevented in up to 70 percent of such cases.

To address the burden of diabetic retinopathy, the Scottish Minister for Health announced that all patients with diabetes aged 12 and over would be offered diabetic retinopathy screening. This major task involved setting up a whole new administrative framework, a quality programme, staff training and defining processes that can be consistently applied to all geographical areas irrespective of resource levels.

The Siemens software application, Soarian Integrated Care, was implemented to manage and support the diabetic retinopathy screening service across Scotland. Implemented as a web-based application with a classic three-tier architecture - GUI, application server, database server - it can be operated via a web browser.

Deirdre Evans, Director National Services Division, NHS National Services Scotland, stated: "NHS Scotland chose Siemens because it has demonstrated a commitment to delivering an IT solution that met the health care needs identified and had already implemented an effective working solution in Europe."

Paul Burdett, NHS IT Manager at Siemens Medical Solutions, stated: "We were delighted to be chosen as partners in this project and it is great to see it coming to fruition. We believe that this is the largest and most advanced example of eHealth projects of its kind anywhere and is an excellent example of a preventative health care service delivered on a national basis."

Siemens Medical Solutions of Siemens AG is one of the world's largest suppliers to the health care industry. The company is known for bringing together innovative medical technologies, health care information systems, management consulting and support services, to help customers achieve tangible, sustainable, clinical and financial outcomes.

Recent acquisitions in the area of in-vitro diagnostics - such as Diagnostic Products Corporation and Bayer Diagnostics - mark a significant milestone for Siemens as it becomes the first full service diagnostics company. Employing more than 41.000 people worldwide and operating in over 130 countries, Siemens Medical Solutions reported sales of 8,23 billion euro, orders of 9,33 billion euro and group profit of 1,06 billion euro for fiscal 2006 (September 30). More company news can be found in the VMW June 2007 article Information security of Siemens' remote service platform for medical devices certified.

Leslie Versweyveld

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