Tags: VNA

Is Vendor Neutral Archiving the best building block for a digital patient record?

With the National Programme for IT fading into the rear-view mirror, new storage contracts for many NHS Trusts need to be sourced. The good news is that this doesnt have to be a problem – and indeed, could be a real opportunity to find new ways of working with patient data of all sorts, thinks Mark Winstone of SynApps Solutions. Read more from IDMi magazine here – IDMi_Nov15

SynApps coverage in Bdaily: The DNA of VNA

October 30, 2015 – Tony Backhouse, the Head of the Health Practice at SynApps Solutions, has got some great attention in an important online business publication, Bdaily.

The publication had asked him for his views on how the shake-up of England’s medical imaging market could open the door to achieving a true EPR.

Tony was happy to guide readers on how VNA is a standards-based way of extending PACS (Picture Archiving and Communications System) services to incorporate DICOM and other format content.

That, he advised, is going to be key to making the sharing of medical data easier for clinicians, as well as making patient records available across any combination of service providers.

“All a VNA is really doing is to extend your proven, workhorse PACS systems by adding a new dimension to the medical images you already need to capture and share,” Tony says.

“By applying a content management approach to your VNA-based medical records, you can make sharing medical data easier and more practical – as well as incorporating lifecycle management and retention policies to support information governance requirements using standard interfaces, which is what the Department of Health wants everyone in UK health informatics to be doing.

“It’s also sensible to use technology we know works in one part of the NHS and extend it to help in other areas, avoiding many of the mistakes we made in the Programme, and also opening up NHS information ‘silos.’”

He concludes:

“Put all this together, and you can see why VNA is swiftly becoming a promising new option for an NHS-wide approach to electronic medical records.”

Tony was also able to get a great shout-out in for our growing roster of successful NHS Trusts working with SynApps to do just what he explains in his article:

“And for a growing band of major [NHS customers], our Vendor Neutral Archive platform is doing just that – extending a central PACS repository to become a key component of a new generation of virtual EPRs.”

Check it out for yourself here

Why Are Trusts Interested In Non-DICOM Solutions Right Now? A View From Industry Experts J4Care

Img_blog49Let’s find out more about one of our most important technology partners here at SynApps Solutions, J4Care, whose global Marketing and Sales Director, Marcel Swennenhuis, shares his views on the non-DICOM aspect to the health IT market

Emerging customer demand around non-DICOM

Patient records are a combination of medication information, documents, reports, patient history – and also typically images, both DICOM images, e.g. radiology, as well as non-DICOM ones, which could be dermatology pictures or other pictures of a patient.

The problem is that all those types of content are spread over different systems and in different formats. For a doctor, that can be very frustrating, because to get a complete view of the patient he often has to go to different systems, to get to what he needs to know about a patient.

That is not ideal. Doctors are starting to say, ‘Just give me one way of looking at an entire patient record, including radiology images, cardiology, dermatology and medication!’ Because that is a lot easier, clearly. I hear from a lot of medics that they only have a few minutes to talk to a patient during a consultation – and if they have to log into three or four different systems, it’s unmanageable and they won’t do it. They have to ask the patient ‘Please tell me what kind of medication you are using,’ and ‘Can you bring me a CD with the back X-ray images’. Information should be simple to access and available, in one place. That is the marketplace demand we are seeing more and more of.

The curse of the silo

The reason we’re at this point: silos. Historically, each and every department in a hospital had their own ‘silo’ of information. They all had their own database with information that had to do with their specialisation.

There’s another IT aspect to this to consider. Hospital IT departments are buying more and more archives/storage from different vendors. They have to go to one particular company for storing their radiology data, then another for storing the cardiology information, then to another for storing the medication information etc.

The problem that results from that is that it is very difficult to keep everything in line. They would like to have just one system where everything is stored about a patient.

The good news is that with more modern systems, especially VNAs, we are getting to a more integrated view of the patient, driven by the doctors, who want everything together.

The 2018 paperless NHS target

In the UK, there has been a drive to create a unified patient record, and there is an NHS paperless target for 2018. What’s interesting is, this ambition is far from being a UK-one only – it’s European wide, although manifesting itself differently in different countries.

Finland has, for instance, said it wants one integral view of the patient, with everything digitised in a centralised way, so it is setting up one central system where all hospitals are required to send important data, then any other hospital or any GP can access it, even the patient. The goal is to get rid of paper and see the end of patients running around with CDs or documents if they visit another hospital.

In The Netherlands, they are also trying to digitise everything – however, here there is a completely non-centralised approach. Each hospital is individually aiming for digitisation, then connecting to all the other hospitals so that, with all kinds of protocols and security, each hospital can look into the data of the other.

Estonia is also following the Finnish centralised route – which we’re helping by implementing one integrated viewer for all images, across the country; we are also doing a project in the region around Johannesburg (South Africa), which is following a centralised approach for 30+ hospitals to share patient-data. In England it’s more of a semi-centralised approach, which is closer to the Dutch model.

Marcel Swennenhuis works at our core tech partner J4Care, an innovative software company that’s helping medical professionals, as well as patients, by enabling easy, safe and fast storage and access to complete medical records

J4Care And What It Brings To The SynApps Healthcare Story

We are a software company located in Vienna, Austria, with a focus on VNA (Vendor Neutral Archiving) and DICOM viewing and reporting.

We were founded in 2007 by a group of experienced PACS engineers, who wanted to do something that was a) based on open standards and b) used Web technology as its basis. From those beginnings, we delivered our first solutions in 2009, and we now have an install base of around 80 customers – mostly in Northern Europe, some in Africa and the Middle East and so on, but we have had most of our success in the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Austria and Finland.

The two core products we have are a VNA and a viewer, both based on standards and which can also be sold as two independent products. We have customers who have both the VNA and the viewer, but we also have customers that just have the VNA and customers that just have the viewer. In terms of who those customers are, they are hospitals: regional ones that share medical imaging amongst each other; national organisations (for instance, two of our main projects are the national medical imaging archive of Finland and the national viewing of images system for Estonia); and at the other end of the spectrum, diagnostic centres and diagnostic laboratories, which are relatively small but will do a lot of works for GPs, say. In England, of course, we are working with Acute Trusts.

In terms of functionality: we are one of the few VNA suppliers to allow clinicians the chance to do full diagnostic work with our viewer. We are one of the few full Web-based diagnostic workstations. Many suppliers out there have a viewer, but it is not equipped for radiology diagnostic work – clinicians can look at the images, but they cannot take a full diagnosis on what they see and usually need special workstations. With our solution, everything can be done through the web.

Away from proprietary

The key to our success is “Open” standards. We aim to be the most compliant VNA and viewer solution in the market, so we can integrate easily with any other supplier and are furthest along supporting various standards in the field. That’s very important for our customers, as they know those standards are being supported and we are continuously up to date with that.

Standards are also incredibly important in the healthcare marketplace.  That’s because so many healthcare organisations want to exchange information amongst each other and if you have your own proprietary way of doing it, it is often very difficult to connect between hospitals and regions.

Last but not least

And, of course, SynApps Solutions is a big factor in our success. It’s our distribution and implementation partner for the United Kingdom – and anything we deploy in England goes via SynApps. We focus on technology development and work with local partners to do all the marketing, sales, support, and use our software for their businesses.

Marcel Swennenhuis is one of the leaders of core tech partner J4Care, an innovative software company that’s helping medical professionals, as well as patients, by enabling easy, safe and fast storage and access to complete medical records

Next time Marcel will be taking a look into emerging customer demand around non-DICOM, for both Medical Photography and Patient Records-type customers

VNA Based Content Approaches Of Increasing Interest To NHS Trusts

Four major NHS organisations select a Vendor Neutral Archive based clinical and patient data system from SynApps Solutions, built on EMC’s Documentum


Maidenhead, UK, 30th June, 2015 – Content management leader SynApps Solutions isdelighted to announce that four NHS hospital organisations have now selected a Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) content platform, based on the Enterprise Content Management System (ECMS) Documentum® from EMC Corporation, as a standards-based route for next-generation patient data handling.


The Trusts are Croydon Health Services NHS Trust, London’s Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust , Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust and Northampton General Hospital, the partners confirmed today.


SynApps and EMC helping Chief Clinical Information Officers


Croydon Health Services provide acute and community healthcare services across the borough, with 3,500 staff servicing a catchment of 380,000. Its Chief Clinical Information Officer, Dr. Tony Newman-Sanders, confirmed that, “In the past several years we have been working with other organisations across our health community in South West London on how to use the opportunity of re-procuring our picture archiving and communication system [PACS] and associated image data store to do it all better second time around.”


London’s Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust is a district general hospital supporting 350,000 service users. “We feel we are making real a long-term vision of VNA and electronic data and content management, all living in one unified repository with the SynApps solution,” said its Deputy Director of Information Management & Technology, Norman Harling.


Royal Liverpool and Broadgreen University Hospitals NHS Trust is one of the largest and busiest hospital trusts in the North of England with an annual budget of over £400m. 

Northampton General Hospital NHS Trust provides general acute services for a population of 380,000 and hyper-acute stroke, vascular and renal services to a population of 684,000.  The Trust is also an accredited cancer centre and provides cancer services to a wider population of nearly 900,000. “Our new SynApps on-site VNA has a zero-footprint viewer, which means clinicians (and ultimately patients) can look at images on any device, including tablets,” comments Christina Malcolmson, Deputy Director of ICT. “At the moment, that’s just PACS images – but we will grow it and include other images and documents, so we can have a full EPR over time,” she added.

Commenting on securing four major UK Trusts for a VNA-based content approach built on EMC’s Documentum, SynApps Solutions’ Managing Director, Jim Whitelaw, noted, “We are delighted to be working with our key technology partner EMC to help these NHS bodies get ready for a truly 21st century approach to Health IT provision.”
“We are proud to collaborate with SynApps to deliver a proven, enterprise-class, joint solution focused on enabling the NHS transformation toward a truly patient centered healthcare,” comments Michael Graetz, VP of EMEA Healthcare sales Enterprise Content Division, EMC.

About SynApps

SynApps is an independent services and solutions company specialising in Enterprise Content Management (ECM) technologies. Founded in 2003 by former Documentum services professionals, the company provides consultancy, implementation and support services for EMC Documentum, and has authored a suite of content integration solutions, ConXApps, which allow businesses to quickly maximise their investment in ECM technologies. Organisations across healthcare, government and commercial markets rely on SynApps solutions and services to capture and share knowledge more dynamically and efficiently.

Find out more at synapps-solutions.com, or follow the firm on Twitter @Synappssol

EMC and Documentum are trademarks or registered trademarks of EMC Corporation in the United States and other countries.

SynApps Applauds New IT Trade Body’s Demands For Better Information Governance In The UK Public Sector

Tony Backhouse 27f8d29By Tony Backhouse, Head of Healthcare Practice, SynApps Solutions

As we all settle down to the next five years of our new government, now is the time to start a debate about the best way to help deliver the most effective public services.

Technology is often pushed to the top of the queue when it comes to transforming public services, as we all know. Critics tend to respond that technology is often used an alternative to increased investment.

They may well have a point, and after five years of austerity, many public sector leaders wonder if there’s any ‘fat’ left to cut before we get to real flesh and bone. But in the NHS, there is a clear response, in the form of the seminal ‘Five Year Forward View’, to this question: we need more money and we need creative, intelligent use of digital solutions, too.

Here at SynApps, we know from our work on Vendor Neutral Archiving and Open Source clinical content solutions that stakeholders are increasingly convinced that smart technology is an invaluable tool in their hands.

A new call we can all get behind

However, one big barrier remains. It’s not a functionality problem. We have great technology already.

What we are missing is a common, easy way for those technologies – at all levels, between all sorts of partner organisations and teams in health, social and community care – to work together.

What’s holding us back: silos. silos of information, the way we have sectioned up data and patient information resources in ways that make it impossible to connect up the way we want.

That’s why we are throwing our support behind the call by the new pressure group of vendors behind networking technologies in the public sector, Innopsis for more effective, safer information sharing across the public sector.

The body, which launched last week after a re-branding from its previous identity as PSNGB, says that what the heads of major Departments like Health and DWP should be doing is taking on board the potential to transform public services by better enabling organisations to safely share more information – something it sees as a “huge, largely untapped opportunity” for UK Plc.

The evidence is mounting up at the coalface

Who can disagree with its further point that if public sector organisations could safely share information, for example across multi-agency safeguarding hubs, which could form a single point of contact to report safeguarding concerns, we can make real progress here.

Progress and savings, too. This is not just Innopsis’ conviction but that of many experienced leaders in both the buyer and commercial community around the NHS. And it’s ours based on the real savings we can see our Trust customers achieving every day.

Let’s hope Whitehall listens to Innopsis, our customers and the larger community at this formative time – as the next five years could be a lot more successful and productive as a result.