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● Data Storage/Data Management

Making the switch to vendor-neutral

archiving How to optimize comprehensive data storage for healthcare’s new age. By Greg Strowig

research and consulting to the medical electronics industry. Not surprisingly, VNAs were a hot topic at the recent HIMSS meet- ing in New Orleans. A rapidly increasing number of healthcare facilities are discovering the technology’s benefi ts. After years of relinquishing control of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) data to vendors, VNAs fi nally put healthcare facilities back in the driver’s seat. And that’s also true of other types of healthcare IT data. VNAs also off er other important benefi ts, including: • Automatic access to a patient’s full clinical history across all providers;


• Electronic medical records (EMRs) enriched with all pa- tient images and reports – no matter what the department or source of image generation;

• T e ability to upgrade to a new PACS from any vendor in just hours;

• Simplifi ed and secure lifecycle management of the clinical images across the entire enterprise; and

• A platform to share and communicate data among en- terprises as part of a health information exchange (HIE). While defi nitions may vary, most experts agree VNAs should:

• Provide patient-centric storage; • Support open standards; • Manage varied content, including images, video, sound, treatment plans and other data objects;

• Provide the capability for query, storage and retrieval; • Support multiple departments, enterprise and regional architectures;

• Maintain patient privacy and security through audit trails; 10 July 2013

endor-neutral archives (VNAs) are predicted to store 31 percent of all new imaging studies world- wide within four years, according to a recent study by InMedica, a leading global provider of market

Greg Strowig is chief operating officer, TeraMedica. For more on TeraMedica: www.

• Transcend upgrades and changes of PACS and allow PACS solutions to be interchangeable;

• Eliminate future data migration and/or conversion of data formats;

• Be hardware agnostic; and • Be integrating the healthcare enterprise (IHE), digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) and Health Level Seven (HL7) compliant.

The VNA: Standards-based storage at last What truly distinguishes a VNA from an ordinary PACS

archive is that it utilizes storage techniques, data formats and data-exchange methods for healthcare information by adhering to industry standards, independent of the application that created the data. With a VNA, such as TeraMedica’s Evercore solution, IT applications are no longer tied to physically addressed stor- age and communication with other systems through proprietary integration. Underlying the VNA benefi ts is a consistent metadata format that enables identifi cation of all data for a particular patient, wherever the information is stored on the IT system. T is patient- centric data presentation eliminates today’s crazy quilt of costly, clumsy IT interfaces and homegrown workarounds that attempt to fi ll the gaps between incompatible IT systems. With a VNA, any application using the archive requires only a single point of integration to a standardized service for access. VNAs typically include data from the health information system (HIS), radiology information system (RIS), PACS, EMR and information from numerous specialty departmental systems.

An anecdote for proprietary PACS data Since diagnostic images and reports are among the most frequently shared information across the continuum of care,


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