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Significance of Vendor Neutral Archive

By CIOReview | Wednesday, March 15, 2017

In a hospital, along with surgical processes, informational processes also need to be perfect to ensure delivery of care in a timely manner. A major contributor towards this is Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA), a medical imaging technology storing images and making imaging data accessible through various picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). The use of a VNA as a centralized location for all images helps compile various patient images in different areas within an organization scattered over multiple PACS. A number of healthcare facilities rely on VNAs and PACS together to both store and share their medical images.

Traditional PACS create numerous medical imaging that often don't integrate with EHR systems. This is accompanied by tremendous costs in migrating data to and from different PACS platforms. Through VNAs, users try to overcome some of the challenges associated with PACS. Currently, users want VNAs to help them with internal image sharing, workflow efficiency and reducing the costs of storing and transmitting images.

VNAs serve as a one stop shop for all medical imaging data, regardless of the PACS or department of origin. VNAs have a number of capabilities to offer. Most of the VNAs today are well equipped with integration capabilities to empower healthcare providers to interoperate with various EHRs and share imaging data with other providers and patients. With consolidated storage management, users can limit individual imaging silos by creating a centralized location with advanced compression and disaster recovery capabilities. This also helps in cost savings, enhancing data integrity and improving visibility of healthcare images.

Selecting a VNA

Before choosing a VNA, healthcare providers must evaluate their imaging strategy, as well as consider the business challenges that could be conquered by a VNA platform. Through this pre-evaluation, a healthcare organization devises a plan for successfully implementing an imaging system that results in a positive return on investment and improves accessibility and security of stored imaging data. The end result could be a VNA that serves as a healthcare organization's image sharing and clinical content foundation.

Challenging VNAs

However, VNAs are not the only choices available to healthcare providers today. The introduction of new technologies such as cloud based hosting of data and 3D printing is having a profound impact on medical imaging.  With the use of 3D printing, neurology departments are able to create lifelike models of brain aneurysms that help them diagnose and observe a patient’s condition. A 3D model helps them carefully plot their surgical options before initiating any treatment or surgery. Also, surgeons can perform dry runs of treatments on these models in order to teach or train residents and fellows to navigate complex surgeries for better outcomes. This model has proven to be a way to reduce risk while saving money. Having a 3D model to experiment with and figure out the best strategy helps reduce many dangers such as making manipulations in the blood vessels etc. Further, advanced printers are also being developed that can create models with multiple layers of materials to replicate anatomy more accurately and mimic what surgeons come across in real-life procedures.

Alongside 3D modeling, cloud use cases are also being extensively used in healthcare. Cloud providers are focusing on providing compliance and data protection services on cloud. These services enable organizations to meet HIPAA requirements and are cost effective substitutes to duplicate data centers. Also, security aspects of cloud solutions help users to protect their data. Compliance monitoring, reporting and detection of unusual system are few examples of the security and compliance features offered by cloud providers. The plethora of options available in the market support radiologists and other healthcare providers to use imaging systems and perform treatments accordingly.

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