Last week marked my thirty-seventh consecutive Radiological Society of North America (RSNA) annual meeting (http://rsna.org/)! Not only does each meeting go by in the blink of an eye, but so have the years! It is hard to believe that I have been attending these meetings since before PACS even existed! Imagine a meeting with no flat panel displays, and display panels filled with film!
This year, I have to say was truly a meaningful year in light of ARRA/Meaningful Use. I have been anticipating changes ever since the enactment of the law and this year seems to be the first year that exhibitors really emphasized its impact!
This week as I pour through my notes and materials from the show, I thought it would be helpful to reflect on some of my key observations. Here are my initial takeaways from the meeting:
The Cart and the Horse: Over the past few years much emphasis has been placed on the emergence of the Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA). As a radiology meeting, emphasis has primarily been on the extension of a radiology archive to other imaging services, such as cardiology for economies of scale and reduction in the number of archives a site has to manage.
Last year, at least one vendor (Client Outlook - http://www.clientoutlook.com/) began to suggest that it might be appropriate to lead with a universal display as a precursor to the VNA. The premise was that one could implement the viewer and realize immediate benefits from enterprise viewing, such as through a link to an EMR. The display could always pull from multiple archives and eventually grow into a VNA as archives are consolidated.
This year, several vendors are placing greater emphasis on the importance of a Universal Viewer (UV) over the VNA. There continues to be controversy surrounding the type of viewer, and the benefit a VNA brings to the table in conjunction with a UV (more on that in a moment). The simple fact is that momentum is building to suggest that the viewer may have more benefit to the enterprise than the VNA necessarily has by itself. Hence, the cart in front of the horse.
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