Sunday, August 1, 2010

Shift Your Archive to "Neutral"

I recently reviewed a cardiology PACS Request for Proposal (RFP) that had a section on the migration of stored data from various PACS archives to a new system, as well as a section on migration of the data when the potential vendor's PACS was replaced. 

The idea of migrating the image and related data right now, in five years, than again in five years till eternity, every time one changes a vendor is not very appealing. That is where a vendor neutral archive (VNA) comes in the picture, which only requires migration once and for all into a true neutral and open format. 

These data migration clauses are becoming more common in health IT RFPs—especially for second- and third-generation PACS adopters. This is because many of these users were shackled with the bill for migrating their data, which can be expensive, resource intensive, and very time consuming. 

The cardiology PACS RFP author was apparently unaware of the VNA concept, and how it could help their institution avoid future migration issues. I was able to help them get the right requirements in the updated RFP, based on this checklist. 

I strongly suggest that anyone who is considering the replacement of their PACS should be seriously considering implementing a VNA (a "true VNA," as defined here). If not, it better be for very good reasons—if you can come up with any, I would be interested in hearing them.