Healthcare providers and patients alike know the frustration and high cost that can come with the inability to share medical images. When an individual is issued a referral from a primary care physician to a specialist, for example, they may need to transfer X-rays to their new physician in order to give him or her the information needed to provide proper care. This process isn't always easy, though.

Medical images are often stored in informational silos, and may never make it to their intended recipient. FUJIFILM TeraMedica, Inc.'s Synapse VNA (vendor neutral archive) system provides an easy solution to these issues, and not just for sending and receiving X-rays.

Study finds other medical imaging methods are prevalent
In a recent report, peer60, a healthcare research company, found that radiology was not the only department that can benefit from using medical image transfer technology. Of the vendors highlighted in the report, including FUJIFILM, a total of 96 percent stated that radiology is the department that can benefit the most from image sharing. Orthopedics came in second at 76 percent and oncology was a close third with 75 percent. Oncology, neurosurgery and cardiology tied at 63 percent each, and neurology was selected the least often at 53 percent. 

Another interesting statistic that came from this study was the incredible importance of overall hospital-wide image sharing. Of the vendors participating in the research, 35 percent selected each department (orthopedic, oncology, radiology, cardiology, trauma, neurology and neurosurgery) as the most important areas of healthcare that can benefit from medical image sharing. It's clear these individuals believe in technology like VNA and its bright future across all healthcare departments.

VNA imaging
The Synapse VNA is equipped to promote sharing, archiving and storage of imaging and healthcare information from 24 specialties. File formats include DICOM, A/V, MPEG, WAV, JPG, PDF and other clinical options. Some imaging devices and products that can be used in tandem with VNA include:

  • X-rays
  • CT scans
  • EKGs
  • Endoscopic imaging
  • Barium X-rays
  • Pace machine imaging
  • MRIs
  • Renal scans
  • Renal grams
  • Opthalamy laser images
  • Digital and scanned pathology
  • DMSA scans
  • Digital fluoroscopy reports

These are just the healthcare imaging devices that VNAs cover. Information such as dictation files, physician and brain lab reports, surgery reports, treatment plans and physician notes can also be sent, received and stored via Synapse VNA. 

Uses for image sharing
peer60 also looked into what image sharing technologies are currently or would be used for. About 88 percent of the providers surveyed said receiving images from other sites is the most important aspect of VNA, PACS and other image sharing technologies. Trauma cases were second with 70 percent, and reducing CD uses was also a major factor at 49 percent. Sending images out for a second opinion was the final specific factor that providers pointed to, with 46 percent stating this was a prominent reason to use image sharing. 

Radiology Business points out that security is the main reason behind moving from physical copies of patient health information to digital formatting. With the evolution of PACS and VNA, providers currently not using healthcare imaging and information sharing technology or those who are working with stand-alone image-sharing solutions may be looking to make the switch. PACS and VNA are more widely integrated with existing patient record archiving, and CDs and other individual provider programs can be easily uploaded to them. Choosing to use these improved services will make your healthcare system information exchange easier and more efficient while staying in line with meaningful use guidelines.

News brought to you by the TeraMedica Division of FUJIFILM Medical Systems U.S.A., Inc., leaders in healthcare enterprise imaging (VNA) solutions.