The efficient management of medical information lies at the heart of effective patient-centred care. The industry is turning to Vendor Neutral Archives (VNA) to solve this challenge, but what does the industry buzz word mean and how can it really help?
At GE Healthcare IT, we define VNA is a 4 level model for medical information management that meets a hospital’s requirements to store information in a cost effective way, consolidate access to patient data, provide service continuity, preserve investments and comply with data protection regulations, while supporting the wider objective of improving patient diagnosis and treatment.
Our VNA product is an ‘Open standard’ which means it adheres to the IHE industry standards, it supports our wider vision for integrated patient care – a patient driven, outcomes driven method of delivering healthcare – and it can be developed over the long term to meet the evolving healthcare requirements of the future.
The four levels of VNA offered by GE can benefit a healthcare system in a number of ways and offer incremental benefits when adopted simultaneously. Level 1 accommodates independent radiology PACS systems from different vendors. Level 2 adds the ability for enterprise imaging (e.g. rad and cardiology) systems from different vendors so that different departments can be archived together and the life cycle of images stored on the archive can be managed automatically thereby contributing to reduce, control and manage costs.
Level 3 adds enterprise medical documents and media access which makes it possible to store all kinds of media produced in the hospital or medical department on one archive making it accessible to all departments of the hospital. This means a holistic patient history is available resulting in improved diagnosis and therapy.
Level 4 takes the archive outside of the confines of the hospital and connects the patient history across the region providing a gateway to regional image exchange.
There is no doubt that the face of healthcare and the way that we diagnose and treat patients is changing. In particular we are seeing a trend where numerous specialists from across the country can be involved in the treatment of one patient and a scalable solution like the GE VNA is the key to enable this effective collaboration, both now and as things evolve. It is an extremely powerful tool bringing a host of benefits across the organisation to the IT department, the physician and the patient. And the good news is that in order to take advantage of these benefits there is no need for additional IT infrastructure or a hefty capital outlay – everything is contained within the VNA, it is just a question of accessing it to its full potential.