Healthcare organizations of all sizes and complexities must address the changing landscape of value-based care. Older, proprietary archive systems are increasingly becoming obsolete, replaced by vendor neutral systems that support each other seamlessly.
This digital integration must be supported by a similar departmental integration. Radiology departments looking to streamline their imaging processes and data with other departments and facilities can turn to vendor neutral archives (VNA) for this purpose.
Here are three ways that a VNA can streamline integration between departments, improving workflow and producing better overall care.
1. Shifting image management away from PACS
PACS archives require the use of proprietary software and hardware. Even if both are DICOM conformant, a system installed in the radiology department operates on different protocols from those in the cardiology department.
This could result in a bottleneck, negatively affecting data transfer performance. By shifting the work of image management away from PACS toward a VNA, all department systems can focus on their key functions.
“By shifting the enterprise image management and viewing to systems other than the radiology department PACS, it allows the departmental PACS to focus its resources on its primary functions — acquisition and reading workflows,” said industry consultant and speaker Don Dennison.
2. Consolidating storage choices
Because of their proprietary nature, self-contained radiology PACS archives can’t natively communicate with other departmental archives.
Medical imaging consultant Michael J. Gray notes how this disconnect affects data transfers:
“All of the other applications wishing to share the Radiology PACS archive must pass their data through the Radiology PACS, creating a performance hit on both the Radiology PACS Directory and the server platform,” Gray noted.
A VNA creates a shared access system, consolidated within a single vendor option for storage. The open architecture of a VNA promotes image sharing and minimizes the need for future migration, even as organizations switch PACS vendors over time.
3. Sharing a large variety of formats
Restrictive PACS systems often limit radiologists to specific file formats, dependent on the archive’s current infrastructure. Converting formats between departments would thus be a time-intensive process, adding more strain on internal resources.
The virtualized, neutral nature of a VNA helps radiologists process and view a variety of incoming DICOM and non-DICOM images, as well as reports, lab results, notes, etc. Because the underlying infrastructure is shared across the entire facility, other departments can obtain the same formats without need for conversion.
Vendor neutral archives offer greater cross-departmental accessibility to help reduce migration costs while preserving data integrity and security. To see our Conserus™ suite of vendor neutral solutions, visit us in Booth 1135, south Hall at RSNA and request a meeting or demo in advance. You can also read more about modern radiology imaging issues and solutions by subscribing to the Medical Imaging Talk blog.