Because PACS System contracts slowly bend to its end, many customers are in search of an alternative system. Unfortunately, this search is everything but easy. PACS Providers often use its own methods to save data in their archives. This often leads to problems during data transmissions between the old and new system. Hence, it’s no miracle that some customers are afraid of changing their PACS. As a result of it, small companies who specialized in data cleaning and standardization of private DICOM tags, etc. were developed. These companies then migrate the DICOM from one vendor to another.
Due to the fact that DICOM part 10 requires to save data in a vendor-neutral format, DICOM has developed as a standard. This should ensure that data can be simply and without any problems integrated in every other PACS.
As a result the concept of a vendor-neutral-archive (VNA) has evolved, which essentially is an archive of DICOM data with standard tags and no proprietary compressions. Therefore expensive data migrations at the end of a contract can be avoided, because the customers of a VNA, who have saved their data as a backup in the DICOM format, can simply transfer their data from the old PACS into the new one.
The today’s PACS are kind of a repository of countless radiology images. They save and show pictures of several radiology modalities of different vendors. In parallel, another concept was developed which summarizes medical pictures and documents of several departments beyond the Radiology into an enterprise-covering archive, which is also called VNA.
So that each of such archives is working, there are three fundamental requirements:
- It must be possible to receive images and documents from different vendors.
- It must be possible to save data in different formats (not only DICOM).
- It must be possible to indicate pictures and documents of vendor-neutral systems.
VNA is a concept which develops steadily. From the data property DICOM of the customers, to an enterprise archive which contains different data formats of different sources. Therefore vendor-neutral-archives have the potential to change the IT in the healthcare worldwide.