PACS and VNA: What’s Your Path?
Radiologists were already heavily invested in improving their digital processes, but with Stage 2 of Meaningful Use criteria announced a while back, it became obvious that the focus on medical images and their interaction with picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) would continue to evolve.
PACS, while initially a major improvement in archiving images, have proven to be a stumbling block when it comes to sharing those images across departments, and more often, across healthcare agencies. The problem lies in the fact that departmental PACS came packed with their own storage solution that had to be managed by a person in the department. It is indeed rare that a departments share the same PACS, which can be an issue, especially if the vendors differ per department. Therefore, living up the Meaningful Use requirements has many healthcare providers in a pinch as to what to do.
What we’ve learned since the beginning of the digital era is that siloes of information that needs to be shared, yet is blocked by the very technology meant to improve processes, is a pervasive issue. What many providers are looking to for a solution is something called vendor neutral archiving, or VNA. PACS and VNA are two acronyms that most radiology IT staff have become accustomed to seeing uttered in the same breath. Why? Because it is the answer to the problem that keeps providers from staying in compliance with new regulations.
The reason PACS and VNA together are an ideal solution is because VNA is an enterprise-class, not department-class, data managing system that can consolidate data the way you need it consolidated, and without compartmentalizing it in such a way that it can’t be shared with other departments or with providers outside of your network. Here’s a list of what PACS and VNA married together can do for you:
- Normalize DICOM headers, which assists data exchange between disparate PACS.
- Offers single point of access. This is a major help in complying to Meaningful Use because it allows you to simplify your image enabling of the EMR system.
- Consolidate your storage, which boosts your ability to manage, support, upgrade and expand.
- VNA assists you in managing and accepting non-DICOM data, such as HL7 data.
- Information Lifecycle Management becomes a possibility with VNA. Tier-to-tier storage migrations are just one of the perks of ILM.
It’s tough to argue that VNA isn’t the correct approach when it comes to enterprise medical image data management. As providers weigh the cost associated with time and money in upgrading their PACS, it makes more sense to implement a VNA solution.
OffSite Image Management, Inc., has developed a cost-effective yet quality solution to your PACS issues that are keeping you from meeting your Meaningful Use objectives. Our solutions won’t price you out, either. In fact, we work with rural providers with limited budgets to bring them solutions once reserved for large provider systems.