Beyond the Repository: Clinical Benefits of a VNA

2017-12-28
 


Tablet Displaying Diagnostic ImagingA vendor neutral archive (VNA) can be more than an image repository. When implemented as part of an overall enterprise strategy, it can enhance workflow, increase productivity, and improve patient care.

An Enterprise imaging strategy integrates images and patient data and makes them accessible throughout a health system to any authorized user on any device. It incorporates workflows that allow users to consistently view, exchange, analyze, manage, and store, all the imaging and data across a healthcare system.

The VNA is a crucial component to an enterprise strategy, and if organizations consider it from both an IT and a clinical perspective, it can be the foundation of for an enterprise imaging solution that equips a healthcare organization to go the next level in value-based care.

What are the benefits of such a transformation? What does it take to achieve? What criteria indicate success? Let’s review each of these questions. 

Benefits of VNA transformation

Cardiology and radiology PACS generally store departmental images, but not images from other ‘ologies or acquired outside their departmental modalities, like photographs taken on mobile phones. These departmental systems are often siloed, and clinicians are limited to viewing the images in their own area.

With the right platform, a vendor neutral archive can break down these silos and consolidate images from various specialties, along with patient data from the electronic medical record (EMR). The result is a standardized view on any device that shows the image side by side with the appropriate patient record.

A VNA can enhance physician collaboration across departments and facilities, and ultimately, improve patient care by giving clinicians the imaging and patient data they need for better-informed diagnoses. It also helps generate cost savings through improved workflows and increased efficiencies. 

Achieving Enterprise Imaging

Implementing and maintaining an effective enterprise imaging solution is an ongoing process.

The first stage creates the foundation in a repository,  But when implementing this foundation, you must ensure it supports the distinctive workflows that are necessary in highly complex imaging departments. Customers need to look beyond the simple feature/functionality to know what is needed to be successful and provide systems that are flexible and scalable to support future growth.

With a strong foundation in place, workflows improve. When relevant clinical data is available alongside images,  workflows become more efficient as clinicians spend less time tracking down images and logging in and out of unfamiliar solutions. Interoperable solutions enable a broader understanding of patients’ health status and gives clinicians context so they can deliver more confident, quicker, more accurate diagnoses.

Clinical decision support tools can be used to analyze all the structured and unstructured data now available in the VNA. This level of information enables clinicians to identify effective treatments and care plans for individual patients or specific populations. An oncologist, for example, could analyze tumor images and compare her patient’s image to those from a large patient cohort. She then could evaluate the treatments and outcomes from patients with similar tumors to better inform her patient’s treatment plan.

Ensuring a VNA becomes the core of an effective enterprise imaging solution is a process. Once completed, the resulting benefits can be far reaching.

Criteria for Enterprise Imaging Success

To be successful, an enterprise imaging solution should streamline and simplify complex processes so health systems can efficiently and effectively manage their core operations. It should enable seamless access and easy report sharing all day, every day regardless of location.

In addition, the management solution and associated reports should be suitable for every department including radiology, cardiology, endoscopy or other disciplines. It should deliver increased reporting efficiencies for radiology and site agnostic reporting of radiology imaging. At the same time, it should deliver excellent governance and access control.

By itself, a VNA is a useful repository of imaging and clinical data. With the right technology, vendor partners, and processes, it can be so much more.

Intrigued? Learn more in our latest interactive eBook: Enterprise Imaging Inspirations: How to Explore, Invent and Transform Diagnostic Imaging.

Enterprise Imaging Inspirations: How to Explore, Invent and Transform Diagnostic Imaging

 

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