Medical image volumes continue to grow exponentially, and so does the complexity associated with them. Additionally, the need for sharing the information has become crucial in the healthcare IT industry in order to achieve meaningful use of the healthcare data. Traditionally, PACS served as the key information system for management of medical images. However, a major disadvantage of PACS is that it cannot interoperate across other departments in a healthcare enterprise. This resulted in the creation of data silos. The need for Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA) emerged as a result of these data silos and decoupling of archives from PACS became a logical need for healthcare organizations. The concept central to a VNA is that this interoperability is achieved through a vendor-agnostic approach, that is, the VNA acquires data from any PACS, irrespective of PACS vendor.
VNA is defined as an information technology platform designed for creating a single central repository that allows consolidation and long-term storage of medical imaging studies and other relevant medical data from multiple sources across healthcare systems in a standard format, ensuring interoperability.
Healthcare organizations show growing interests in adopting VNA technology because of its advantages over PACS in terms of interoperability, flexibility and accessibility. Another important advantage offered by a VNA is data ownership. With a PACS system, the healthcare providers do not have significant control over their data owing to the proprietary nature of its archive. Also, although VNAs require long-term and high initial investments, they can be rather cost-effective solutions. Switching to a VNA avoids data migration costs and efforts, which are indispensible in case of PACS. Moreover, VNA allows hospitals to store data in different storage tiers. For example, pediatric medical records can be stored in the deeper tiers, since their access would not be required often.
The most important trend that is expected to revolutionize the VNA market is the integration of VNAs and EHRs that would provide a holistic and patient-centric approach to manage healthcare information and make it compliantly available. The partnership between EMR and VNA offers an evolutionary solution capable of providing an aggregated view of the complete patient care record that is securely managed across hospital departments, enterprises, and even regions.
The VNA market is segmented on the basis of delivery mode, procurement model, content type, vendor type and hospital size. Based on the delivery mode of VNAs, the market is categorized into on-premise VNAs, dual on-premise VNAs, hybrid VNAs, and cloud VNAs. The on-premise VNA forms the largest segment of the overall VNA market as they are perceived to offer better control and secure sharing of data. Hybrid VNA, on the other hand, is the fastest growing and consequently a new revenue generating segment of the market.
Key companies in the VNA market include BridgeHead Software (U.K.), Carestream Health (U.S.), Dell, Inc. (U.S.), GE Healthcare (U.K.), Mach7 Technologies (U.S.), Merge Health (U.S.), McKesson Corporation (U.S.), Perceptive Software (U.S.), Philips Healthcare (The Netherlands), Siemens Healthcare (Germany), and TeraMedica (U.S.).