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Vendor Neutral Archive Baloney

Posted Jan 11 2011 12:24pm

Having cleared the holidays and now firmly back at work, I finally have found some time to reflect on this year’s Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) meeting in Chicago.

hype-free-zoneFor those in regular attendance, we have weathered the “Client-Server”, “Enterprise Computing”, and “Web Based” marketing storms to continually advance the tools and technologies used in world-class Radiological care and informatics. However, we have entered (or fallen) into an entirely different sphere of “Hype’ology” with the Vendor Neutral Archiving (VNA) craze and its associated marketing flimflam that is grasping the Radiology Informatics space.

To be clear, a number of firms are providing DICOM migration, conversation, toolkit services and products that improve workflow and increase the sharing of medical imaging assets. It is, however, the current crop of messaging from a small but growing set of Picture Archive & Communications Systems (PACS) vendors touting their products as a VNA solution that is clearly misleading.

Almost all PACS imaging archives in today’s classical configuration are closed, proprietary systems that thwart, if not block, the wholesale migration and sharing of image data unless you are deeply committed to the software licensing and maintenance revenue stream of your current vendor. Claiming these systems as now magically VNA compliant is nothing more than a way to extend the proprietary grasp on your organization’s budget and extend the feigned reverence of your current PACS archive.

As healthcare institutions grapple with an ever-shrinking informatics budget, they are being forced to knock down these proprietary silos of data and demand systems that manage entire classes of imaging assets and doing so in an open standards and transparent manner are just the “Table Stakes” in this new paradigm.

Let’s dial down the VNA hype. Healthcare informatics executives deserve real choices and a real conversation regarding content repositories.

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