● Data Storage/Data Management
it is precisely the isolated and often proprietary PACS archive that poses a particular problem to hospitals – and to radiology departments that wish to upgrade to a new PACS application. T e VNA provides an elegant answer with implications across the enterprise and beyond. While DICOM was created as a shared data standard for medical images, many of today’s PACS problems are actually rooted in DICOM itself. One issue is that DICOM fails to fully specify the metadata tags (fi elds) used to identify and annotate data. T us, vendors have been able to interpret and use the standard in myriad non-standard ways. Additionally, DICOM permits the addition of private tags, which will not read across vendors. It also allows relational data fi elds to remain empty, with negative consequences. In short, DICOM provides ample opportunities to keep data tethered to a specifi c application. Further, the promise of an EMR enabled with DICOM images and related information is even more complex. T is can require custom interface engines to link unrelated systems and possibly data transformation. It may even call for the duplication of entire archives. Interfaces are costly to create and maintain over many years, and they also can produce security risks and scalability
12 July 2013
issues. Data duplication multiplies storage and maintenance costs. In addition, imaging fi les are enormous and becoming larger – and therefore are complex, costly and challenging to share. Moving all information to a truly standardized platform that is able to make the necessary translations between endpoint systems eliminates many of these problems. With a VNA, sites can share images across systems, migrate to a new PACS and manage data more easily.
Images beyond radiology T e benefi ts of the VNA do not stop with radiology – nor do the challenges faced by traditional PACS. Currently, a PACS is often called upon to store a growing variety of data – both DICOM and non-DICOM – from within radiology and else- where in the hospital. DICOM data stored may include cardiology, neurology and other specialties. T e departments that generate this data often have their own identifi cation numbers, requisition systems and even accession numbers that all must be reconciled and man- aged within the PACS just to create an integrated record in this single application.
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