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New software giving B.C. hospital remote access to critical equipment

The syngo Virtual Cockpit (sVC) allows technologists to remotely connect with those on site at the New West facility.
New software at Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) allows technologists remote access into CT scanners.

Royal Columbian Hospital (RCH) can now support on-site technologists operating CT scanning machines, remotely — thanks in large part to a new software.

Developed by Siemens Healthineers, the syngo Virtual Cockpit (sVC) software allows techs from the New Westminster facility's medical imaging team to remotely steer technologists on-site to access up to three CT scanning machines.

According to a release from Fraser Health, the use of sVC will allow remote steering technologists to connect with the modality technologist on-site through live video, audio and chat.

The software can be given complete control or read-only access.

The remote technologists, with the help of sVC, can support those on-site with selecting protocol and additional imaging by taking the images and reconstructing them into different views, said Michael Milkovic, workflow implementation lead of medical imaging at RCH.

Additionally, the software would also allow remote technologists to review and adjust scan acquisition and contrast injection parameters through a live video stream of the patient and contrast injector.

"The technology is pretty spectacular," Milkovic noted.

A significant advantage of sVC is being able to share knowledge as senior technologists can provide real-time support and collaboration to juniors — passing on their knowledge and expertise remotely.

"As a training tool, this software will give a junior technologist more autonomy towards the end of their training," said Milkovic in a statement.

"They can make the majority of the decisions but be at ease knowing they have real-time support from a remote steering technologist.”

Patients can also benefit from this new tool as it helps expand patient access to CT scans.

The release noted the technology will be implemented into MRI suites at Royal Columbian in the future.

Ken Winnig, executive director of medical imaging at provincial health services authority said the teams are the first in Canada to have access to the new syngo Virtual Cockpit software and the technology is a tool that would help "improve access and patient experience by supporting staff when performing complex scans and improving workflow, staff satisfaction and training."

"We are excited to implement this technology into our department's workflow," said Debbie Huebner, RCH medical imaging supervisor.

"It's a huge benefit for the future of health care as we'll be able to train new CT technologists faster than before and the remote steering technologists can support up to three scanners at a time using this software."