By John Hansen, Director of Product Marketing, TeraMedica Division of Fujifilm
Healthcare providers have always relied on clinical imaging when making diagnoses, compiling treatment plans, and analyzing treatment efficacy. While the majority of images have traditionally been handled by the radiology department, healthcare enterprises now obtain images from a variety of service lines. If a patient has a suspicious mole or a serious wound, for example, chances are a dermatologist or wound care specialist will take a picture to document a baseline and assist with their proposed care strategy. To keep pace with this proliferation of clinical imaging, healthcare organizations are starting to implement an enterprise imaging strategy to help manage all of the imaging content coming in from across the care continuum. That’s where a vendor-neutral archive comes in.
What Is a Vendor-Neutral Archive (VNA)?
A vendor-neutral archive, or VNA, was designed for imaging interoperability. Many solutions on the market, including Fujifilm’s Best in KLAS Synapse® VNA, provide secure, easy-to-manage storage, and allow access to the complete patient imaging record. They also integrate with electronic health records (EHRs) and health information technology (HIT) systems to provide the complete picture health picture. A few other important features of VNAs include:
- Secures and enables control of all image data on the organization’s preferred enterprise-class storage media or in the cloud.
- Creates a single, patient-centric view across the entire continuum of care.
- Manages all DICOM and specialty department (non-DICOM) clinical imaging content from across the enterprise.
- Captures imaging content using VNA-inherent workflows for encounters-based service lines.
- Facilitates image sharing and collaboration amongst a community of care providers.
- Presents patient data through advanced analytics and configurable dashboards.
Why Do I Need a VNA?
Healthcare enterprises first realized the need for a VNA with the proliferation of picture archiving communication systems – or PACS. Radiology departments have used picture archiving PACS for more than 40 years, which primarily manage and archive DICOM images. However, as more vendors entered the market with their own variations of PACS technology and DICOM conformance, the ability to easily exchange and view images between PACS systems became challenging, causing demand for the VNA to grow. Add in the influx of specialty departments now curating images in a variety of non-DICOM formats – A/V, MPEG, WAV, JPG, PDF, to name a few – and you can see why the need for one, all-inclusive image archive solution becomes so critical.
So how does it work?
A VNA captures, stores, archives, manages and distributes DICOM and non-DICOM images in one common archive, regardless of the imaging device, file format, or department. Some specific benefits of having a VNA as the core to your enterprise imaging strategy include:
- Reduced storage and operational costs: Simplifying data storage with a VNA reduces storage costs and eliminates the need for costly future data migrations.
- Secure patient data: A HIPAA-compliant VNA that provides data in accordance with your organization’s access control policies helps keep patient information secure, with centralized data security across the healthcare enterprise.
- Streamlined physician workflows: A VNA with EHR interoperability allows providers to access images and patient records through a single interface, streamlining workflows and improving clinician satisfaction while allowing them to spend more time on patient care.
- Improved patient care: Access to complete imaging data allows providers to see the whole patient, so they can treat the whole patient.
Synapse VNA – The industry’s leading image- enablement solution
Synapse Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA), from the TeraMedica Division of Fujifilm, makes true imaging interoperability possible. Storing more than 40 billion imaging objects from more than 1,500 facilities across six continents, Synapse VNA provides the industry’s leading image- enablement solution. For more information on how you can make Synapse VNA the core to your enterprise imaging strategy, reach out to us today.
By Laurence Yudkovitch, Product Manager – Synapse VNA, TeraMedica Division of Fujifilm
If you spend any time consuming media these days, you’ve likely seen an ad for Apple’s new iPhone 11 Pro. It features not one, not two, but three lenses to create a “pro camera system.” Apple is conveying the impression that this system is designed for professional photographers and gives you (a typical user) the same capabilities to take and edit professional photos and videos with the iPhone 11 Pro. Prior advertising from Apple even suggested you could shoot a feature-length movie on the iPhone. With the iPhone 11 Pro, Apple notes that even some (professional-grade) DSLR cameras “don’t do” the 11 Pro’s Smart HDR algorithms. It’s a bold claim.
At Fujifilm, we know a thing or two about cameras, lenses, and video solutions. Fujifilm developed the world’s first digital camera, the FUJIX DS-1P, back in 1988. Revolutionary for its time, it featured 2 MB of SRAM, enough memory to store 5–10 photographs. Today, our equipment is used by photo and video professionals daily for high-definition TV broadcasting, including sports broadcasting and program production.
As a company that serves both amateurs and professionals, we understand that their needs are different. Most casual camera users have no idea how to adjust the aperture setting, focal length, or white balance on their device, and that’s why Apple’s automatic adjustment and point-and-shoot capabilities appeal to them. It’s easy to use, with virtually no training required. Professional photographers may find the iPhone 11 Pro’s camera system appealing for its simplicity, but they won’t be satisfied with the results relative to what they are capable of doing on their professional units. That’s why they are professionals, or specialists, and require more-sophisticated equipment.
In the enterprise imaging world, I just saw an ad for an enterprise viewer that’s also a PACS workstation. That positioning has been a trend in the industry. From an IT administrator’s perspective, the assumption is that it’s easier, because like the original iPhone, which combined the phone, daily planner, and camera into one, a combined PACS/enterprise viewer means one application for IT to manage and deploy. However, similar to how true professional photographers still use specialized equipment, one should question if this is best solution for clinical users.
PACS systems are designed for specialists. Radiologists spend most of their day in a dark room reading images. Workflow, integrations, performance, and usability are critical to their success and satisfaction. If they can complete a task with one mouse click instead of two, or can save scrolling through menu options by using a hotkey, they are much happier and more productive. And a typical PACS offers dozens of commands and image manipulation options. Two of Jakob Nielson’s well-regarded 10 usability heuristics for user interface design include:
1. Recognition rather than recall
Minimize the user’s memory load by making objects, actions, and options visible. The user should not have to remember information from one part of the dialogue to another.
2. Flexibility and efficiency of use
Accelerators—unseen by the novice user—may often speed up the interaction for the expert user such that the system can cater to both inexperienced and experienced users. Allow users to tailor frequent actions.
This means that a good PACS UI will make all the options visible to the user and offer speed keys for quick access. This works very well for users who live in the PACS all day, need that enhanced functionality, and can remember the hotkeys to access it.
An enterprise viewer is designed for the masses. It should be easy to use and require very little training. It’s also meant to be used in any environment, more often than not an office setting or on a mobile device in a bright and sunny patient room. These users need to see a wide assortment of images but require only a basic toolset for scrolling through images and performing small manipulations and measurements. They may be viewing these images on a portable tablet or phone that doesn’t have a keyboard to activate speed keys. As such, their needs are vastly different from those of a diagnostic PACS user.
The point is, different users need different solutions. And just because radiologists can and will use an enterprise viewer for clinical review, it doesn’t mean it’s the best day-to-day tool for them. Similarly, although any user could learn to use a PACS system with training, a typical PACS has far more features than they eventually need and actually makes it more difficult for an administrator to support all these users and their varied settings. This overhead makes it harder for the average user to use a PACS system and ultimately can make them less efficient, potentially affecting patient care.
What healthcare organizations really need to consider is how to support their specialists with all the diagnostic tools they need, but also support the general clinical user with a smaller default toolset, on a unified back-end architecture. At Fujifilm, we recognize the needs of different users within the healthcare environment, and that’s why we’ve designed separate tools specifically to meet the needs of the radiologist and cardiologist as well as the enterprise user, all on one platform. For enterprise imaging, one size does not fit all.
By Greg Strowig, Vice President – TeraMedica Division of Fujifilm
Each year at the HIMSS Global Health Conference & Exhibition, I’m astounded by the epic (no pun intended) number of attendees that hit the show floor on the hunt for their next game-changing health IT discovery. Unfortunately, this year’s show was canceled in an effort to protect the health and safety of the global HIMSS community, as well as the public at large, from the potential spread of the coronavirus.
So while you may not have been able to see Synapse VNA at HIMSS, there’s still a number of reasons why the platform is an image-archive must see:
1. It enables true imaging interoperability –One of the biggest – if not, THE biggest – industry buzzwords is interoperability. Healthcare departments need access to imaging data from across the enterprise, regardless of the technology-generating source, format type, or siloed storage system. Synapse VNA makes that kind of true imaging interoperability possible. In fact, the archive manages more than 40 billion objects from 1,500 facilities across six continents, and brings the complete picture of patient health to providers all over the world.
2. It integrates with any EHR –As the primary source for clinical documentation, it’s critical that imaging archives seamlessly integrate with the EHR to improve workflow. Synapse VNA’s Connext EHR solution allows clinical data to be instantly uploaded directly from the patient encounter in the EHR into the VNA. Customized API plugins also automatically sync the patient to their visit, and provides one-click access to the Synapse Mobility Enterprise Viewer to support anytime, anywhere imaging workflows.
3. It could match surging data volumes with succinct AI insights—It’s no surprise that big data has led to even bigger insights in healthcare. To take those clinical learnings a step further, Synapse VNA now has the potential to let AI algorithms analyze the massive datasets stored in the VNA to help enhance workflows and support clinical decision making.
4. It was just named the industry’s leading VNA/image archive—Synapse® VNA has just been awarded Best in KLAS for the VNA/Image Archive category of the 2020 Best in KLAS Software & Services report. What’s so special about this recognition? Best in KLAS measures the performance of healthcare IT solutions based on the feedback provided by thousands of healthcare provider organizations, such as yours. As stated by KLAS President Adam Gale, “Best in KLAS winners set the standard of excellence in their market segment. (“The Best in KLAS VNA/Image Archive award”) serves as a signal to providers that they should expect only the best from the winning vendors.” How’s that for an endorsement?
5. Synapse is more than just a VNA—While Synapse VNA is the core to an extensive enterprise imaging strategy, the Synapse Enterprise Imaging portfolio spans far beyond just the archive. Fujifilm’s comprehensive suite of enterprise imaging solutions – including Synapse PACS, Synapse Cardiology, Synapse 3D, Synapse EIS, Fujifilm’s AI-enabled platform REiLI, and Fujifilm’s latest unified enterprise imaging viewing platform, Synapse 7x – let’s your organization see the whole patient, so you can treat the whole patient.
Interested in learning more about what Synapse VNA and the rest of the Synapse Enterprise Imaging portfolio can do for your healthcare enterprise? Contact us today!