6 ways a VNA can reduce imaging costs

Medical imaging is one of the most costly components of patient care. Data from the American College of Radiology indicates that diagnostic imaging accounts for 10 percent ($100 billion) of total annual healthcare costs¹. At least part of these staggering costs can be attributed to the fact that so many exams simply shouldn’t have to happen. In fact, researchers at the Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA, have estimated that a significant amount of studies—nearly 9 percent—are unnecessary or redundant².

While a variety of concrete steps can be taken to control imaging-related costs, a sound image exchange strategy that incorporates a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA), is a wise place to start. Below are six ways a VNA can help contain costs while providing additional value³:

1. Reduce complexity: Exam complexity is a major cost driver. A VNA can address this issue through consolidation and standardization, resulting in a more collaborative IT environment that is less costly, easier to support and better able to adapt to new business requirements. The VNA can also help eliminate difficult and costly PACS-to-PACS data migrations.

2. Centralize images: By consolidating medical images from various decommissioned PACS archives to a patient-centric VNA, not only can you increase visibility and communication between care teams, but you can also save on the following:

  • Associated PACS licensing, maintenance, and support
  • Future archive upgrades
  • Training and implementation costs
  • Hardware, storage, and network requirements
  • Data center overhead
  • Administrative and support personnel

3. Provide universal image viewing: With a VNA, images and studies can be viewed independently of existing siloed systems, thus reducing the number of proprietary clinical viewers that must be licensed, deployed and supported. Universal viewing can also better position your facility to support the growing number of mobile and telemedicine images patients send to their care teams.

4. Improve business continuity management: By moving medical images to a single repository, particularly one that is remote or cloud-based, you can significantly improve your disaster recovery position. Along with improved recovery times, the VNA simplifies disaster recovery planning and reduces the IT and personnel overhead associated with recovering individual PACS archives.

5. Increase storage independence: Vendor-agnostic VNA platforms do not require new storage resources beyond what the enterprise already has in place. VNA platforms can also be deployed over the cloud or can be cloud-enabled. Storage resources dedicated to PACS archives can then be reclaimed or repurposed.

6. Decommissioned legacy technology: Legacy applications can consume a disproportionate amount of IT budget and resources. Legacy applications continue to incur costs, while making it more difficult to underwrite new applications and innovation. The VNA can accelerate the decommissioning of legacy PACS and PACS archives while reducing or eliminating the associated data migration costs.

To learn how iConnect® Enterprise Archive can help your organization reduce imaging storage and sharing costs, visit http://www.merge.com/Solutions/Interoperability/iConnect-Enterprise-Archive.aspx

1. Howell W, “Imaging Utilization Trends and Reimbursement” Diagnostic Imaging. May 2016
2. Bates DW, Boyle DL, Rittenberg E, Kuperman GJ, Ma’Luf N, Menkin V, Winkelman JW, Tanasijevic MJ., “What proportion of common diagnostic tests appear redundant?” American Journal of Medicine, 2016.
3. Gartner, “How to Find the Money for Your Vendor-Neutral Archive”, March 2015.