Tags: VNIN

What is a Venor Imaging Neutral Network (VNIN)

At SynApps we are continuously looking for ways to improve our solutions to the benefit of our customers. One such area of focus is centred around standards-based interoperability by allowing collaborating hospitals to establish a Vendor Neutral Imaging Network (VNIN). But what is a VNIN?

A Vendor Neutral Imaging Network (VNIN) is a healthcare-related concept that refers to an interoperable and standardized system for the storage, exchange, and retrieval of medical images. It is designed to overcome the limitations of traditional Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS), which often have proprietary formats and communication protocols, making it challenging for healthcare facilities to share medical images seamlessly.

The primary objective of a VNIN is to create a platform where medical images, such as X-rays, CT scans, MRIs, ultrasounds, and other diagnostic images, can be shared across a region in a standardised manner. This enables healthcare providers, including hospitals, clinics, and imaging centres, to efficiently access patient images and data across different facilities and systems, regardless of the vendor or manufacturer of the equipment used to generate the images.

Vendor Neutral Imaging Network

Key features and characteristics of a Vendor Neutral Imaging Network include:

  1. Standardization: VNINs adhere to industry standards, such as DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine), FHIR (Fast Healthcare Interoperability Resources), XDS (Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing) and XCA (Cross-Community Access), which ensure that medical images are stored and communicated in a uniform format. These standards allow different systems to communicate, understand and interpret the images consistently.
  2. Dynamic Interoperability: VNINs are designed to support the dynamic on-demand sharing and retrieval of Patient Images and Documents across a region of collaborating hospitals without mandating the creation of a single central archive. VNINs can be integrated with other regional or national XDS registries to support wider information sharing.
  3. Centralized Image Repository: Since a VNIN supports the dynamic sharing of information, a central repository is not mandatory. However, VNINs may also provide a centralised storage repository for medical images to improve scalability, accessibility or resilience depending on the need.
  4. Scalability: VNINs are scalable to accommodate the growing volume of medical images generated daily. This is essential as medical facilities continue to adopt digital imaging technologies and generate increasingly larger datasets.
  5. Security: Given the sensitivity of medical images and patient data, VNINs implement robust security measures to protect patient privacy and comply with relevant regulations, such as General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) in the United States.
  6. Vendor Independence: As the name suggests, a VNIN is vendor-neutral, meaning it is not tied to any specific medical equipment manufacturer. This independence allows healthcare facilities to choose imaging devices from different vendors while maintaining seamless data exchange.
  7. Access Control and Authorization: VNINs implement access controls and authorization mechanisms to ensure that only authorized healthcare professionals can access and view patient images.
  8. Data Integrity: VNINs prioritize data integrity, ensuring that medical images remain accurate and unaltered during storage and transmission.

By adopting a Vendor Neutral Imaging Network, healthcare organizations can improve clinical workflow efficiency, enhance collaboration among specialists, and ultimately deliver better patient care by ensuring that critical medical images are readily accessible and shareable across the healthcare ecosystem.

The SynApps VNIN solution offers these critical features alongside an advanced zero footprint diagnostic viewer which can further extend access to not only other clinicians within the hospital but also those users within the community or primary care who may not have historically had direct access to such critical patient data.

SynApps Solutions awarded to the new National Framework Agreement for Legacy Information Integration and Management

Hatfield, UK – July 18th , 2023 – SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management specialist with deep experience across the NHS, has announced that it has been named as one of six suppliers to the £150 million contract following the launch of a new framework agreement, designed to allow NHS trusts to procure legacy information and management solutions.

The framework, managed by the Commercial Procurement Service and set to run until 2027, is expected to meet the challenges presented by migrating from one patient administration system to an EPR. It allows for the procurement of a cloud-based or on-site archive which interfaces directly with a live EPR, so clinicians can access archived clinical patient data seamlessly from within the live EPR.

The data is then extracted, analysed and migrated to the new system, ensuring the data is usable in the new system. Data can be extracted from multiple systems and aggregated into one archive, simplifying access where multiple systems may have been in place previously. The archive and the live EPR will interface directly, and access to the archived data is available within the new EPR system, streamlining access and allowing the legacy contracts to be ended.

The Countess of Chester Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s Commercial Procurement Services recognised the challenges faced by many NHS organisations around how to deal with legacy applications and data; thus, creating the new framework agreement to enable NHS Trusts to purchase solutions and services to help tackle these issues.

“We are delighted to be one of only six vendors on this framework, which will help clinicians access archived data and patient information seamlessly from within their EPR,” comments Jason Scholes, CTO, SynApps Solutions. “SynApps is transforming the way NHS Trusts provide the whole patient record (DICOM/non-DICOM) to clinicians via existing EPR systems and share the records with other healthcare providers in the local community so this Framework is a natural fit for us.”

SynApps provides software, consultancy, implementation and support services for Alfresco and OpenText Documentum and has authored a suite of content integration and migration solutions, ConXApps, that allow businesses to quickly maximise their investment in ECM technologies. The company also builds VNA (Vendor Neutral Archive) solutions which extend into VNIN (Vendor Neutral Imaging Networks) for shared Radiology. These provide proactive image sharing, cross-network reporting, CDC support, a single view of multimedia data, and image sharing within and beyond regional imaging networks, leading to enhanced patient diagnoses and outcomes.

SynApps Solutions is also part of several other government frameworks, including NHS Supplychain, QE Facilities, and the North of England Framework.

SynApps Solutions appoints Gary Donohue as NHS Account Director

Gary DonohueHatfield, UK – May 24th, 2023 – SynApps Solutions, the enterprise content management specialist with deep experience across the NHS, has appointed Gary Donohue as its dedicated NHS Account Director. His remit is to grow the company’s already substantial footprint within the NHS.

Donohue has a long and well-regarded career in the healthcare technology sector, including spells at Salesforce, Hyland,  yHEMC and Fortrus, where he specialised in application user experience, content management and business process management.

“I am delighted to join SynApps Solutions, which has been helping NHS Trusts across the country to modernise everything from patient records to lung screening and radiology scans,” comments Gary Donohue, NHS Account Director, SynApps Solutions. “SynApps is a pioneer in advanced vendor-neutral archives, lung diagnostics and radiology technologies so it is an exciting time to come on board and continue to change healthcare and patient outcomes for the better.”

SynApps is transforming the way NHS Trusts provide the whole patient record including (DICOM/non-DICOM) to clinicians via existing EPR systems while sharing the records with other healthcare providers. This includes local community and potentially nationally fully supporting integrated healthcare in-line with the NHS directive for converged healthcare for NHS Trust’s, ICS/ICB bodies, Mental Health, Social Care and Local Authority organisations to deliver integrated care and pathway automation.

“Gary has a wealth of healthcare technology experience going back over fifteen years so we are thrilled to welcome him to the company to help us provide even better service to our NHS clients,” adds James Paton, CEO, SynApps Solutions. “We expect Gary to be a most valuable member of the SynApps team and look forward to working together.”

How the market finally caught up with the Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) promise

I hope you spotted the great news that came in at the end of last month that the most trusted name in the IT commentary world, Gartner, rated us extremely highly in that part of the market known as the VNA.

VNA is not the sexiest term for a technology ever, I’ll grant you – but actually, it’s a really important tool and one that could really help a lot of people.

That’s because the name – it stands for ‘Vendor-Neutral Archive’ – doesn’t really convey what its power or potential actually is. We know – we’ve been marketing some excellent VNA solutions, especially for the NHS market, for a number of years now, and the vagueness of that name has perhaps not been to its help.

Why? Because NHS buyers see the VNA as in, essence, a medical device… it’s a bit of software that is good for storing my medical imaging data, specifically all the PACS and DICOM data that I needed to find a safe and secure home for when the old off-site PACS storage NPfIT contracts came to an end in 2015.

Which it is – a VNA is a fantastic way to store very large data files and access them really easily. But that was never what a VNA was only supposed to do. That’s because, out of the gate, you had this really cool XDS tech built into it – XDS standing for ‘Cross Enterprise Document Sharing’.

Why XDS is so useful is that it is a standards-based way to work with multiple forms of content, of all different types. That means that a VNA isn’t actually just a place to stick big X-ray image files, though please carry on doing so… it’s actually an Enterprise or Document Management System.

Why should I care, I hear you thinking? Well, a VNA might not be a whole lot of use to a manufacturer, a retailer or a financial services CIO.

But if you are

  • an NHS CCIO or CIO trying to help colleagues in different departments
  • and/or an NHS CCIO or CIO tasked with helping connect records with other stakeholders
  • a local authority social care team looking to join up information on vulnerable or elderly patients to help address their complex, cross-team needs
  • a GP surgery looking for better ways to document the patient journey
  • a CCG committed to more paperless ways of working with patient data
  • a policymaker in an NHS England STP (Sustainability and Transformation Project) interested in the power of digital to revolutionise patient care

Well, then – yes – what a VNA can do suddenly becomes absolutely central. How: because it’s the proven, available and tested way to keep all patient data – from notes to prescription charges to medical imagery to social care interactions – in one place.

And from cradle to archiving – across multiple stakeholders.

In that Gartner report, that route of travel has been clearly signaled. The good news is that here at SynApps Solutions, we spotted the potential for this years back, and have accumulated relevant expertise and intelligence on doing just this kind of Super-VNA work (and have some significant trails underway to make a VNA-based Shared Care Record a reality – an in months, not years).

It’s brilliant to see that Gartner has caught up with us – but we’re not boasting, we’re just saying that we are ready whenever you are.

Let’s work together to make VNA do what you and your patients and service users really need it to.

Chris Brice is SynApps Solutions’ Director of Sales and Marketing