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Where the vendor neutral archive stands in medical imaging

Last updated:February 2016

Editor's note

The need for reliable storage of healthcare images is as great as ever. The use of a vendor neutral archive as a centralized location for all a provider's images was once thought to be a cure for the use of multiple picture archiving and communication systems that scattered patient images to different areas within an organization.

That notion is dissipating as more healthcare facilities decide to use VNAs and PACS together to both store and share their medical images. Those two options are no longer the only choices in the imaging game, as cloud-based hosting of data is catching on in imaging departments. Cloud isn't the only relative newcomer to the medical imaging world. 3D printing is allowing healthcare professionals such as neurosurgeons create and study unique models of brain aneurysms prior to operating on a patient.

Radiology is one medical specialty that depends on imaging systems to conduct and save their work. This guide takes a trip through the 2015 edition of the Radiological Society of North America's Scientific Assembly and Annual Meeting, a conference where vendors showed off their latest imaging products and systems, and healthcare professionals went to get an education on the ever-changing industry.

The following collection of podcasts, videos, news and tip stories lends insight into how PACS, healthcare VNAs and other imaging systems and tools are being used by customers. Experts also analyze how imaging technology has propelled the healthcare industry forward and what work needs to be done in the future to support radiologists and other imaging employees.

1Imaging innovations and interoperability issues

Neurology departments are taking medical images and creating lifelike models of brain aneurysms through 3D printing. Doing this helps them thoroughly observe a patient's condition and carefully plot their surgical options prior to proceeding with treatment. An expert in the medical imaging field offered his take on what he perceives to be a lack of interoperability in the sharing of medical images. Read the articles in the following section to learn why he thinks the image exchange capabilities of PACS and VNAs need to extend to outside of providers' data networks.

2SearchHealthIT's RSNA 2015 coverage

The 101st annual meeting of the RSNA covered all things related to healthcare imaging, including how two separate user organizations are installing radiology software. Shaun Sutner, news and features writer for SearchHealthIT, attended the event and took in many of the exhibits and sessions that covered a multitude of imaging-related specialties. He also spoke to a veteran of radiology IT about his opinion on the direction of innovation in that area.

3Storing, sharing and securing imaging data

A primary benefit of keeping images stored in one place, such as within a healthcare VNA, is that they should be easy to find. However, an imaging consultant cautions that VNAs and PACS are likely to coexist in the future because neither system alone is capable of fulfilling a healthcare organization's imaging needs. Watch the following videos to find out why security is a big reason why some healthcare facilities may stick with PACS and VNAs instead of turning to cloud imaging storage.

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