What Clinicians Like about Vendor Neutral Archives

A vendor neutral archive (VNA) -- a medical imaging technology in which images and documents are stored in a standard format with a standard interface, so that they can be accessed by any other system – offers a plethora of well-known cost and operational benefits to healthcare organizations.     

For example, healthcare organizations can archive images from all departmental picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) without additional hardware or software; reduce the time that information technology staff need to devote to system maintenance; and eliminate the cost to migrate images from one PACs to another.

The big question, though: What’s in this technology for front-line clinicians? A close look at the functionality of the GNAX Medical Image Vendor Neutral Archive reveals that there’s plenty for clinicians to like. With this VNA, clinicians can access a complete view of the patient’s condition, including medical images, from any device or computer that has Internet access. 

More specifically, clinicians are apt to appreciate VNAs because the technology enables them to:

Go mobile. Like everyone else, clinicians like their mobile devices.  Consider the following: Within two years of Apple releasing the iPad in the spring of 2010, 62 percent of physicians adopted the mobile device for work purposes, according to Manhattan Research. Even though clinicians have traditionally viewed imaging results on high-end monitors, more and more clinicians now want to view all patient information on the go.  And, according to research from the University of Sydney, Australia, while mobile devices don’t offer the same viewing experience as high end monitors, physicians can use mobile devices such as tablet computers to detect abnormalities in diagnostic images. As such, with VNAs in place that are coupled with universal viewers, clinicians can choose the best tools for the task at hand, which could often mean choosing to view images on a mobile device.

Collaborate with colleagues. Clinicians often need – or want – to get opinions from other clinicians. With a VNA in place, it’s easy for clinicians to seamlessly share medical images and get opinions from their co-worker down the hall or even from a colleague all the way across the country.  

Effectively deliver emergency care. Time is, of course, of the essence in emergency situations. Instead of rushing into the hospital or clinic to view medical images, clinicians can view medical images from home (or wherever they are at) and make a preliminary diagnosis on the spot.  As such, patients could start to receive much needed treatment sooner, rather than later.

Get information into the right hands. With a VNA, the right information is always delivered to the right clinicians.  Consider the following: While radiologists traditionally have been able to access imaging reports fairly easily, other specialists such as neurologists, surgeons and nephrologists struggled.  With a VNA, specialists get the images they need remotely with DICOM data, which makes it possible to view relevant medical images complete with interpretations and specific patient information.

Trust that information is secure. Single sign-on makes using a VNA easy and secure – considerations that are especially important to clinicians. The GNAX Medical Image VNA uses a Secure DICOM Exchange (SDEX) that integrates with every provider's system and controls the authentication and access into the universal viewer and VNA. The exchange indexes every study and its location, even those studies not yet ingested into the VNA, which are housed in a temporary, "foreign" work queue. It appends a universal identification, enabling the cataloging and searching of patient studies across the entire community. As such, the technology enables users to securely exchange and view images stored in their VNA, regardless of PACS used.

Access information from within the EMR. With the GNAX Medical Image VNA, one universal, diagnostic quality, zero-footprint viewer simplifies the viewing of images through the electronic medical record.  As such, clinicians don’t have to view data and images separately – but instead can view diagnostic images within the context of an EMR patient record, where the image naturally carries greater meaning.