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VNA and PACS: The Answers to Effective Management of Exponentially Growing Healthcare Data – Healthcare

Healthcare systems are generating more patient data than ever before. With the progression of diseases, the “data footprint” of each patient increases over time, thereby increasing the overall amount of data, which the appropriate bodies (mostly health care providers) must manage.
Large amounts of data are inherently difficult to manage, but an abundance of data also means that better analytic results can be derived, which is necessary to drive lower cost and better patient outcomes. Consequently, there is a huge demand for data management platforms in healthcare and allied industries for efficiently storing, retrieving, consolidating, and displaying data.A Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) is an integral component of modern health data management. A VNA is a storage solution software that can store images, documents, and other clinically relevant files in a standard format with a standard interface.Data stored in a VNA can be freely accessed by other systems, regardless of those systems’ manufacturers. This interoperability is a hallmark of any VNA system. The term “Neutral” in the acronym VNA has huge implications, as it makes the data stored in VNA, platform-independent. VNAs make it easier to share data across the healthcare system, facilitating communication between departments. They enable imaging clinicians to use software that integrates images with the EHR, in order to help make better-informed diagnoses.A VNA can also help make data more secure. VNAs that use cloud-based storage can offer better recovery options than a local-only solution. Even if the local files are corrupted or destroyed, the data remains intact in a secure location through a cloud server.Another hidden advantage of VNAs is the lowering of administrative costs. Fewer systems and fewer points of access mean less overhead for the IT department. And there is no need to migrate data when systems are updated or replaced, a procedure that can be resource-intensive. VNAs potentially offer lower storage costs, as compared to separate PACS systems, throughout the healthcare system as well. VNAs can use information lifecycle management applications to automatically shift older data to less expensive long-term storage, keeping only the most used data on higher-cost quick-access media.Implementing a VNA is a major shift in a healthcare system’s operating procedures. This shift can uncover a multitude of opportunities to increase efficiency, streamline workflows, and lower costs.PACS
Modern diagnostic practices generate an enormous amount of pictures and pictorial data. PACS stands for Picture Archive and Communication System. The main purpose of PACS is to simplify the management of images related to patient monitoring throughout the treatment and recovery. Modern radiology practices involve digital imaging. Therefore, for the purpose of interoperability, a standard is required, which is identified by all the stakeholders and is accepted as a norm.The case in point is DICOM, which stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. PACS that adhere to DICOM standards are better suited to accommodate digital image data generated through medical devices procured from different vendors. In other words, DICOM-compliant PACS have better interoperability and a wider coverage for storing and processing different types of digital images generated through varied medical procedures.The conventional advantages of PACS include duplication removal, quick access of patients’ images and reports, remote sharing of patient’s data and reports within an organization or to other organizations, and the establishment of chronology in patients’ radiology results, in order to facilitate comparison with previous studies on same or other patients.BEST ENTERPRISE IMAGING STRATEGY: WHAT SUITS YOUR NEEDS
With a multitude of vendors offering enterprise image management systems, it becomes difficult to make the best choice. Each organization is different in terms of organization hierarchy, as well as the type of network used for communication and financial constraints. Consequently, the requirements for enterprise imaging solutions for each one of these will be different, and no one vendor alone can satisfy all of these demands.GE Healthcare and Philips offer some of the most exciting PACS solutions. These two vendors have a unique distinction of having a global clientele and providing enterprise archive-centric strategies. An enterprise archive refers to long-term storage for managing and collecting data from multiple imaging departments.If organization’s needs are more VNA-centric, then vendors with exclusive VNA expertise should be considered. An example of a VNA-centric expert would be Agfa. Agfa provides VNA solutions at the enterprise level for handling both DICOM and non-DICOM data.Irrespective of the size of one’s facility or a number of patients one has contact with, you need to make image storage a necessity, because physicians require a seamless access to them. As a thumb rule, it is imperative to say that any large organization with dedicated departments for various diagnostic imaging (or at least a dedicated radiology department) should have a PACS system in place. If financial constraints are not in place, then a hybrid system incorporating both VNA and PACS should be used for cloud-based storage. Hybrid systems with cloud-based storage are considered to be one of the most efficient modalities in current enterprise imaging management.

Healthcare Reporting Systems – What You Need to Know – Healthcare

Healthcare Reporting Systems are designed so that those who need to see how well the department or hospital as a whole is performing can do. Electronic Healthcare Reporting Systems allow those staff who need to know what’s going on, and how the resources are time are currently being used. Information such as the length of time patients have to wait, how many patients are seen on an average see day, and how many beds are needed, can be quickly shown. This can help planning staff and resources, so that there are enough staff and beds to cope with busy times, as well as much much more.Preconfigured reports allow the commonly asked for information to be obtained quickly and easily. These could be different reports showing different amounts of detail for different people, or showing a summary of everything. The reports can also act as templates so that they can be customised to show exactly what needs to be analysed.Using widely available desktop computer software technology, healthcare repor systems are easy to learn, use and customise. Whilst the software reporting systems are sophisticated, they are not hard to use. Using similar interfaces and controls to many common applications, the reporting systems can be learnt in a short space of time, and mean that staff can experience the benefits, without having to go on long training courses.These systems will often support different skills and requirement levels, so that medical staff who are more interested in providing treatment than learning technical skills can obtain reports. Those members of staff who are more analytical or technical will be able to customise reports, or utilise the data in other software or reporting systems.There is a low cost of ownership as the report system is based on proven computer and software technology. It also means the support costs are relatively low, as the software and hardware is industry-standard and widely available. Reports will often need to be run during the day, or whilst the system is busy. Reporting should be able to take place without affecting the running performance of the reporting system.These systems need to be scalable so that they can be used on multiple sites within the same location, or maybe even at different locations. Patient data security is of paramount important, and reports are easy to create and analyse. The reports and data are only available to those who need to see it. Different levels of security and reporting are available to different levels of staff, so that the member of staff can only see the information they need to see.Now that you know more about healthcare reporting systems, why not see how they could help you?

Online Courses in the Healthcare Industry: Educating Patients – Healthcare

For healthcare professionals – be it hospital staff, medical representatives or bio-scientists developing new drugs, online learning courses can provide training and support in a variety of ways. For patients and caregivers too, who are at the other end of the spectrum in the healthcare industry, e-learning has a lot to offer. While every healthcare organization has available literature providing detailed information on the above, patients are often not able to perceive or understand them well to take informed decisions. This is where online learning courses can come into play.An illness of any kind is daunting for an individual. For the lack of time, doctors or nurses are often unable to sit with patients and discuss their options at length with them. Misconceptions and myths concerning certain illnesses also hinder an open face-to-face discussion. Online learning courses enabled learning allows patients as well as caregivers to gather information at their own pace and in a secure environment.
A number of strategies can be employed to put the learner at ease and help them understand their options better. For instance, we developed a course on IVF for one of India’s leading IVF specialists, where scenarios were built with real-life people, practical problems and solutions. The learners were informed about IVF, various procedures and their options with the help of these scenarios.
Information and interactivities within an online learning course can prepare patients for the meeting with the doctor. This shortens the time spent on making them understand the mundane necessities and can be better spent in actual face-to-face interactions. For instance, in a course on a debilitating gastrointestinal disorder, we included clinic forms which the patients need to fill to get treatment for the disease. Important portions of the form like healthcare insurance details, details of previous treatments and history of vaccinations were highlighted to make sure that the patients can produce these details quickly and take the minimum time to fill in the forms in a correct manner.
Perhaps the most important benefit of technology-aided learning for healthcare patients is that it makes understanding complex procedures possible, even if he or she is a layman. With e-learning, graphics and 2D and 3D animations can be used to visually re-create complex procedures and break them down to individual steps to aid understanding. The patients have the option of re-enforcing their understanding by reading up the material whenever they need and sharing it with their family and friends as well.
In addition to information on the illness, treatment options and procedures, online learning courses can also provide the much needed mental and emotional support for patients as well as their caregivers. By sharing coping mechanisms, important resources, links and practical insights that is available to patients and their families at all times, e-courses can provide long term support. This is especially important if the treatment options have a long term implication on the quality of a patient’s life.
With the aid of technology, we can also create a virtual community of patients and caregivers. Discussion boards, wikis or blogs can be created inviting patients and their families to share experiences. It can double up as a searchable knowledge repository, where they can search for information and share it further. This will help dealing with their illness better and dispel the feeling of alienation that often accompanies illness. There are many ways of creating a technology-aided solution to help patients and their families. More and more doctors and healthcare providers are turning to these solutions to help their patients better.