25 years of NEXUS / CHILI GmbH - and still spicy!

In 1997, the three founders of NEXUS / CHILI GmbH ventured into commercial software development following a research project. CHILI - that was first a teleradiology system, soon a PACS with integrated teleradiology solution - and was trend-setting for the industry from the beginning.

In 1997, the three founders of NEXUS / CHILI GmbH (Dr. Uwe Engelmann, Prof. Dr. Meinzer, Andre Schröter) at the German Cancer Research Centre decided to venture the transition from research to commercial software development following the MEDICUS-II project funded by Deutsche Telekom. Several university hospitals and the German Cancer Research Centre were the first customers and still are today.

For the first 5 years, the company operated under the name Steinbeis Transfer Centre Medical Informatics and had its first offices in the Heidelberg Technology Park.

Initially, the company developed the CHILI teleradiology system and began developing a PACS with integrated teleradiology in cooperation with the German Cancer Research Centre. The concepts for these systems were awarded many prizes from the beginning and were trend-setting for the industry. The German minimum standard for teleradiology "DICOM E-Mail" of the German Radiological Society is a further development of the initially proprietary standard of CHILI, which was developed for stroke networking in Rhineland-Palatinate.

In 2002, the company was renamed CHILI GmbH and moved to the office in Burgstraße in the Handschuhsheim district. At this time, Peter Kayser, an experienced economist from the pharmaceutical industry, was appointed managing director.

The CHILI teleradiology system became more widespread in southern Germany as part of the Zukunftsoffensive III project funded by the state of Baden-Württemberg, where it quickly became the standard for exchanging radiological images in southern Germany. Another milestone was that Rhön Kliniken AG, after initial reluctance because of the Linux operating system used, declared CHILI PACS to be the standard in all Rhön hospitals and over time almost 50 hospitals were equipped with it. Even after the purchase of the Rhön homes by HELIOS, these systems are an important building block in patient care.

CHILI was far ahead of its time in the use of the CHILI Viewer on mobile devices. As early as 2002, a prototype was presented on a personal digital assistant PDA (Compaq iPAQ) that could communicate wirelessly with a CHILI-PACS server and allowed mobile teleconferencing. For this, CHILI received the prestigious IST Award from the European Commission.

The web technology was introduced almost 20 years ago and enabled the CHILI viewer to be used in the browser via the web. This was not only a great advantage for use in hospitals, but also for communication across hospital boundaries between medical service providers.

Thus, the establishment of a Germany-wide network for the exchange of medical images and documents was a logical further development. The national TKmed network, which was set up in cooperation with the Academy of Trauma Surgery and the company pegasus GmbH from 2013 onwards, today connects more than 1,000 communication partners with each other. Today, not only image data from trauma surgery is exchanged, but data from many medical disciplines.

Another milestone was the merger with NEXUS AG in 2017. There, NEXUS / CHILI GmbH has the role of the competence centre for medical images. In this context, the radiology staff of NEXUS / DIS, whose history goes back to MEDOS AG and Inovit GmbH, also became part of the CHILI team and RIS became an important component of the CHILI portfolio.

The software from CHILI has been integrated into numerous products from other NEXUS units. Joint products have also been created in the meantime and form an important part of the NEXUS portfolio. The portal solutions from CHILI can be mentioned here as an example, which are integrated with the HIS, the laboratory, the software for women's health and also with rehabilitation solutions, among others.

After the merger with NEXUS AG, the long-standing Managing Director Peter Kayser left the company for reasons of age. He was succeeded by Dr. Heiko Münch, a CHILI employee of many years, who until then had managed software development and at times also support.

Today, RIS, PACS, teleradiology, portal solutions and TKmed form the pillars of the solution portfolio. The two managing directors, Dr. Heiko Münch and Dr. Uwe Engelmann, look back on the 25-year history of the company with pride. The original 5 employees in the Heidelberg Technology Park have now grown to almost 100 at three locations, who, in cooperation with their colleagues in the Nexus Group, will certainly continue to deliver innovative solutions that not only make the work of medical staff and doctors easier, but ultimately improve healthcare for patients.