Martinos Center Strategic Partnership with Medical Solutions
In 2000 the Martinos Center entered in to a strategic partnership with Siemens Medical Solutions to provide MRI equipment to meet the needs of the Center. While this agreement has many components, some of the major benefits to the Center are highlighted here:
- On-site engineers. Siemens agreed to site a full-time scientist at MGH. This has allowed MGH staff to understand how the complex MRI systems work at a greater level of detail than might otherwise be possible, as well as to write software and build hardware that takes advantage of the various features of this particular vendor's hardware and software.
- Continuous upgrades. Our lease structure is arranged so that the cost of upgrades is built in to the monthly payments that were negotiated. This allows the Center to avoid obsolescence and ensures that investigators always have access to state-of-the-art equipment.
- Opportunities for focused research. While not a requirement of the agreement, our partnership does allow for shared research projects where there is mutual interest. One of these, for example, is around the development of imaging tools at 7 Tesla. Our group benefits from Siemens engineering expertise, and Siemens benefits from what MGH investigators learn about the difficulties of working at high field. Other research efforts have been focused on diffusion imaging, perfusion imaging, echo planar stability, and other tools.
- Ability to share software with other researchers. Our agreement explicitly allows mechanisms for work done by MGH researchers to be shared at no cost with other researchers. One such example is a diffusion visualization tool that MGH scientists built to integrate in to the standard DICOM workstation that is in many clinical centers; this has been successfully shared with about 100 sites to date.
Overall, the Martinos-Siemens relationship helps provide state-of-the-art imaging tools to Martinos researchers while also allowing for a mechanism to share tools as appropriate.