Vendor Neutral Archives
Health systems are generating more patient data now than ever before. New methods to capture even more data are in continual development. The “data footprint” of each patient will only grow over time, increasing the overall amount of data that health providers must manage.
It’s a good problem to have. More data can help drive lower cost of care and better patient outcomes. To realize these benefits, however, health systems need more efficient ways to securely store, retrieve, consolidate and display data.
A Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) is a key component of modern health data management. A VNA is a storage solution coupled with software that can store images, documents, and other clinically relevant files in a standard format with a standard interface. Data stored in a VNA can be freely accessed by other systems, regardless of those systems’ manufacturers.
VNAs make it easier to share data across the health system, facilitating communication between departments. They enable imaging clinicians to use software that integrates images with the EHR, to help make better-informed diagnoses. All told, VNAs empower health systems to process and analyze data to make their operations more efficient and effective.
The amount of patient data modern health systems generate should be an advantage, not a challenge. VNAs can help meet the data needs of health systems now and far into the future.
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Vendor Neutral Archives and Interoperability
VNAs should promote interoperability between systems and file types, enabling a seamless experience for providers. Instead of manually assembling the puzzle pieces of patient data, providers can see the complete picture. Software can leverage the VNA to create a single-interface solution, with no need to switch between viewers or physically move to a different workstation.
The interoperability of a VNA also reduces bottlenecks that can throttle communication between departments running on different proprietary systems. It ensures departments can continue to share data efficiently even if one chooses a new vendor.
A VNA is an investment in the future of a health system. True interoperability means knowing that even if parts of the IT environment change, the VNA will still work properly.
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Advantages of Vendor Neutral Archives
VNAs help improve communication within and between health systems, make data storage and retrieval more efficient, and make it easier to consolidate patient data. In addition to these primary benefits, there are several others worth considering.
A VNA can help make data more secure. VNAs that use cloud-based storage can offer better recovery options than a local-only solution. Even if the local files are corrupted or destroyed, the data remains intact in a secure location.
As they centralize data, VNAs can also centralize health systems’ encryption strategy, adding consistent, robust privacy to patient data. And VNAs can help make it easier to track who has access to the data, since they consolidate access to a single point of entry.
Another hidden advantage of VNAs is lowering administrative costs. Fewer systems and fewer points of access mean lower overhead for the IT Department. And there is no need to migrate data when systems are updated or replaced, a procedure that can be resource-intensive.
VNAs potentially offer lower storage costs compared to separate PACS systems throughout the health system as well. VNAs can use information lifecycle management applications to automatically shift older data to less expensive long-term storage solutions, keeping only the most used data on higher-cost quick-access media.
Implementing a VNA is a major shift to a health system’s operating procedures. This shift can uncover a multitude of opportunities to increase efficiency, streamline workflows, and lower costs.
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Vendor Neutrality’s Impact on Patient Centered Care
How to effectively switch to value-based care is a major concern for health systems. VNAs can be a powerful tool to help improve patient outcomes.
VNAs can work with enterprise viewing software to promote collaboration across departments. Each provider can work with the entire context of the patient’s medical history, instead of just the parts that relate to their specific department.
This context makes sure all providers are working with the same information, enabling better communication and smarter collaboration. In addition, VNAs make sure critical data is accessible when patients switch providers or a new provider joins the care team. The availability of all relevant data through the VNA helps promote continuity and quality of care.
Health systems that share information more efficiently with VNAs can also reduce redundant, unnecessary procedures. This reduces the risk associated with imaging procedures and makes it easier for providers to efficiently diagnose and recommend treatment.
In short, VNAs facilitate increased communication, collaboration, and context to enable faster, better informed health care decisions.