Why your PACS isn’t a VNA

For years, we’ve all heard the debate about your PACS: Traditional PACS can’t always compete with a true vendor neutral archive (VNA). Frankly, as a former healthcare CIO, I think that is true!

Why? Because today, nearly every healthcare facility is struggling to manage imaging data generated outside of the traditional areas of Radiology and Cardiology. Many healthcare organizations today don’t even know the impact of how these areas are affecting their costs or their revenues.

The bottom line is that imaging is becoming more available.

It’s also moving outside its traditional areas and becoming more embedded within the clinical care requirements at the point-of-care. As a result, imaging generated outside of these conventional areas has become trapped in siloed approaches, creating inefficiencies that increase costs and complexity.

As an early adopter of vendor neutral archive technology, I would submit that a VNA solution today operating at the core of an enterprise imaging strategy is needed more than ever to fit the strategic needs of the healthcare delivery organization (HDO).

VNA: The consolidation point

What is VNA? Much like EMRs did to drive an enterprise approach to departmental systems, VNAs can serve as a consolidation point for all the enterprise images within your organization. This positions your HDO for more effective, efficient, and functional medical imaging.

I mean, why are siloed approaches to imaging within HDOs today any different than the departmental system approaches that existed 20 years ago?

With the advent of more enhanced workflow methods and viewing capabilities that include diagnostic capabilities, and with healthcare enterprises getting larger and more complex, a new approach, a strategic approach, is now required for enterprise imaging!

VNA: A complete view of the patient

The shift occurring from volume to value reimbursements requires a complete view of the patient. Imaging silos impact the provider’s ability to get a complete view of the patient, resulting in duplication of services that waste time and money.

Silos also interfere with accurate and quality diagnoses, lowering patient satisfaction scores.

HDOs struggle with managing images not only within traditional imaging areas, but also in new areas where they deploy imaging. Requirements, such as photos, video, ultrasound, and others outside of the traditional imaging areas that reside in radiology and cardiology must be managed, indexed, and made accessible with the same consideration given to traditional PACS.

Additional content such as GI images, surgical video, bedside ultrasound, dermatology photos, and soon pathology, are often stored in non-integrated stand-alone silos around the HDO. Growing and creating complexity by the day, it’s only through an enterprise imaging strategy – with the VNA at the core of that strategy – that gains a technical advantage for HDOs. HDOs must find strategic ways to effectively harness the myriad of imaging capabilities emerging in today’s highly complex healthcare system.

Because of these complex challenges, HDOs should replace traditional PACS with a more versatile, enterprise-based imaging solution that is strategic for the organization. Because no matter what the need is in enterprise imaging, it’s the vendor-neutral archive operating at the core of this solution and how it provides more versatility, functionality, scalability, and enterprise approaches than many traditional PACS solutions that is at the heart of this VNA vs PACS debate.

VNA: A standards-based strategy

A true VNA offers the healthcare organization a much more significant opportunity to manage medical imaging on a standardized vendor-independent platform, allowing accessibility to a full range of both DICOM and non-DICOM imaging data – wherever it resides.

When implementing an enterprise imaging strategy with a VNA residing at the core of the solution, the organization has a standards-based strategy to manage and provide access to all imaging information within the healthcare organization. A true VNA is standards-based, allowing for control and ownership over all medical images and associated data. This creates opportunities to reduce storage and migration costs, capture point-of-care images correctly, increase sharing capabilities, integrate with EMRs, and improve overall data liquidity.

The right VNA solution also offers a vendor-neutral approach for an enterprise imaging strategy. It will generate significant opportunities to standardize the enterprise to support its medical imaging needs and unleash the HDOs control in managing its imaging information.

Taking control of your imaging data can significantly improve quality, drive efficiency, and lower costs. You can consolidate all relevant medical images into a single view throughout the enterprise and finally take control of your enterprise imaging information.

You just need to go beyond your PACS.

Phil Wasson

Phil Wasson

Phil Wasson, FACHE, is a healthcare industry manager and consultant at Hyland. His mission is to develop content and create alignment with healthcare organizations focusing on information management and imaging... read more about: Phil Wasson