VNA as the Foundation for Enterprise Imaging, Image Sharing, and Collaboration
This is the conclusion of a 4-part blog series covering the value of a vendor neutral archive (VNA). In case you missed the first three parts of the series, read Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3 here.
Enterprise imaging and encounters-based imaging bring imaging workflows into any service line which generates any form of images, multimedia, or ‘unstructured content’
as a byproduct of the care process.
When discussing enterprise imaging, there are many workflow aspects to consider. Each service line should be given special attention. Workflows should take into consideration the type of devices creating the content, what integration techniques they support (if any), the format of the content, and whether or not orders are placed or if it will be an ‘encounters-based’ service line.
Organizations considering an enterprise imaging strategy should start with a VNA as the foundation and build up their imaging resources from there. They should expect their VNA vendor to be well-versed in all aspects of enterprise imaging to help guide them through this journey, because each service line is different. Bottom line — you won’t find a ‘one size fits all’ workflow.
Collaboration Can Take Many Forms
In my previous blog
I discussed how the enterprise viewer (also known as the universal viewer) is part and parcel with the VNA. Many consider the universal viewer as simply the ‘front end’ of the VNA. The combination of a world-class VNA and its universal viewer counterpart is how magic can happen — facilitating rich collaboration among a community of care providers, as well as image sharing and image exchange.
Collaboration can take many forms. Secure email links to colleagues can enable even non-credentialed system users to have temporary access to specific studies for purposes of collaboration. Real-time collaboration allows multiple collaborators to participate in a ‘shared session,’ somewhat akin to a WebEx, where everyone is viewing the same screen at the same time. Another collaboration option comes through support for multi-disciplinary team (MDT) meetings, grand round meetings, or tumor board meetings.
Image Sharing and Exchange
A strong VNA/universal viewer combination can work together to provide extensive capabilities for bi-directional image sharing and exchange. Your healthcare organization’s goal (or at least one of them) is to make it as easy as possible for outside stakeholders, namely patients or referring providers, to share images electronically. The ultimate goal is to get out of the business of burning CDs altogether and migrate to electronic sharing and exchange of images. Some of these capabilities are facilitated by the VNA, while others are part of the capabilities of the universal viewer. Again, the combination is key.
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this blog series as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it. The VNA has tremendously broad and deep value, and I only scratched the surface discussing it.
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