Most healthcare providers are in the early stages of forming an enterprise imaging strategy, which will enable getting the right image to the right place at the right time, according to a new KLAS (Orem, Utah) study, Enterprise Imaging 2012: Provider's Strategies and Insights. Although providers feel that no single vendor can deliver all of the pieces needed for their enterprise imaging strategy, most are considering one of two main approaches: a vendor-neutral archive (VNA) centric approach or a PACS enterprise archive solution.
GE and Philips are the vendors mentioned most often overall in the study as strategic enterprise imaging partners. All interviewed GE and Philips customers consider their vendor to be part of their go-forward imaging strategy, especially those going for a PACS enterprise archive centric strategy. Fuji, though not mentioned as often as the other two, seems to have a strong PACS enterprise archive offering as well.
Agfa and Merge are the most often cited vendors for a VNA-centric strategy. Agfa customers using the IMPAX Data Center (IDC) are dedicated to making it work, despite early indications that their lukewarm PACS experience will bleed over to the IDC experience. Merge has many of the needed pieces, but providers are still waiting for integration. Merge customers are looking forward to what they will be able to do with Merge's iConnect platform.
Acuo and TeraMedica are the primary non-PACS players in the VNA space. In most cases, early trends suggest that TeraMedica customers are pleased with the value of the system and hint toward favorable enterprise DICOM management. Several clients are also starting to leverage TeraMedica's ability to store other clinical content in its native format.
Acuo clients say their vendor's core strength is in image distribution and data migration. Their increasing number of vendor partnerships and growing mindshare in the VNA space suggest that Acuo is a viable archive option for those who do not want to rely solely on a PACS archive.
"Image storage is a necessity, no matter what option is chosen," said Ben Brown, imaging research director and author of the report. "As providers start to bring in more studies and the studies themselves increase in size, the need for storage will increase. In addition, as a provider explained, images will need to be managed as well as stored."
Of the providers interviewed by KLAS, twenty-seven percent indicate that a VNA would be central to their enterprise imaging strategy, which is selected more often by hospitals with more than 500 beds. Twenty-five percent of providers identify a PACS-centric archive strategy as the direction they plan to go. A PACS-centric archive was more popular among providers in facilities with fewer than 500 beds.