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    Shenzhen Longgang District Health Bureau Builds a Model Regional Medical Imaging Center for Consistent Image Reading

The concept of smart healthcare is nothing new. Longgang District Health Bureau, as a major contributor to smart healthcare development in Shenzhen, has long been committed to exploring healthcare informatization. Longgang District, which is home to 12 public hospitals and 168 community health centers, is determined to enhance information sharing between medical institutions as part of its healthcare digital transformation efforts. To this end, Longgang District Health Bureau has spent recent years building a reliable dedicated healthcare network and a healthcare cloud, as well as promoting regional co-construction and sharing of information platforms and data warehouses. It is committed to providing district-wide smart healthcare for all its citizens.

To make this a reality, the district planned to develop a regional imaging platform, with the aim of using interconnection to combat the challenges in using and managing regional medical imaging information. This will increase the value and efficiency of imaging data, achieve effective collaboration between institutions, departments, and service applications, and more importantly, enable high-quality healthcare development in Longgang.

Data Silos Are a Sticking Point in Collaborative Development

Large data volume, expensive long-term storage

With the number of outpatients surging and medical equipment constantly being upgraded, the volume of imaging data in each hospital's picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is growing at a tremendous pace. Data generated by a single imaging test can be anywhere from just over ten MB to as high as 3 GB. Computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and ultrasound scan equipment generate hundreds of thousands of KB-level small files every day, totaling hundreds of millions of files per year. This is leading to hospitals running out of storage space, a large amount of which is taken up by unstructured imaging data (such as X-ray and ultrasound data), medical record scanning data, and electronic books. Traditional storage systems cannot support quick image retrieval between hospitals or meet future service growth requirements.

Insufficient bandwidth to support data interconnection

To achieve district-wide medical imaging data sharing, hospitals will need higher and higher bandwidth to connect to the regional health platform. The daily image upload service alone requires a bandwidth of 6 Gbit/s. Demands for real-time upload and retrieval of district-wide medical imaging data will present growing challenges to network security and robustness.

Enable Data to Serve Patients

After much consideration, Longgang District Health Bureau opted for Huawei's Digital Medical Technology Solution to build a healthcare information highway for smooth data flow. It built a solid digital foundation for the medical imaging platform with the healthcare cloud, dedicated healthcare network, scale-out storage, and hyper-converged infrastructure (HCI). On top of the digital foundation, it deployed applications for the regional imaging data dashboard, comprehensive regional medical image retrieval, and electronic image copies for patients, which help hospitals maximize the research and clinical value of medical images.

• The healthcare cloud and dedicated network consolidate the network infrastructure of public hospitals and public health institutions in Longgang District. The dedicated healthcare network connects hospitals to the platform of the imaging center. Data of medical institutions at the edge is uploaded to and stored in the imaging center to achieve centralized O&M with cloud-edge collaboration.

• FusionCube and OceanStor Pacific scale-out storage systems deployed in hospitals feature high performance, scalability, reliability, and availability. They support multi-protocol interworking and scenario-specific data compression to allow the PACS to quickly archive and retrieve images and flexibly expand capacity.

So far, the regional medical imaging platform has aggregated imaging data from 12 public hospitals throughout Longgang District, and in doing so enabled district-wide imaging data sharing and mutual recognition across institutions. It serves as a model regional medical imaging center in China.

With the regional imaging platform in place, medical images and healthcare data of public hospitals are now centrally stored, managed, and analyzed at the district level. This allows Longgang District to implement data-backed health planning. The platform provides professional image reading tools on doctors' diagnosis workstations. All medical images that a patient has taken at any hospital within the district are aggregated to the platform for hospitals to access.

In addition, as electronic copies of medical images become increasingly available, patients can now query their imaging test results online anytime and anywhere instead of needing to print the images. This also helps hospitals save costs. The 12 hospitals in Longgang deliver a total of 1.57 million radiology tests annually, and 48.9% of patients choose to view their results in electronic copies on the cloud. If the average cost of a printed image is US$1.2, then viewing images on the cloud can save the hospitals over US$930,000.

With efficient and convenient medical services at their doorsteps, Longgang citizens now enjoy a better healthcare experience than ever before. "In the past, I had to queue time and time again during a hospital visit: to see the doctor, take imaging tests, and get the test reports. I also didn't know how to properly preserve the printed images," said a patient at the hospital. "If I went to another hospital, I had to do the same tests all over again. Follow-up visits were also a headache. But now, everything is just so convenient!"

Zhu Yanyan, Director of the Smart Health Center of Longgang District Health Bureau, said, "Huawei's solution helps Longgang build a solid foundation for the regional imaging platform and allow data to serve patients. Next, we will continue to develop new functions, break data barriers, and keep improving the patient-centered regional medical imaging platform. We will also promote cross-regional imaging information sharing."