Fujifilm heads to HIMSS with high hopes for heightened VNA awareness

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For vendor-neutral archive technology, a funny thing happened on the way to HIMSS15. Over the past couple of years, healthcare providers have recognized en masse that simply setting up a VNA to store all manner of patient-associated content is just dipping a toe in the VNA water.

To dive all the way in and wring the full potential out of the technology, which can elevate image management, streamline workflow, reduce costs and, most importantly, improve patient care, organizations need a way to get said content into the VNA from many and varied hospital departments and clinical settings.

That’s according to William Lacy, vice president of informatics marketing, Fujifilm Medical Systems USA, which will be showcasing its Synapse VNA in Chicago.

What opened all of those eyes over the past 12 to 24 months? Lots of provider organizations completed their EHR deployments—and leading VNA vendors like Fujifilm were busy enhancing and fine-tuning their offerings, Lacy told ImagingBiz in a pre-conference interview.

The newly enhanced Synapse VNA system, he said, incorporates feedback from early adopters and is now mature enough that Fujifilm’s customers are “really eager to start capturing imaging and controlling it, and applying standardized policies to it for security and storage. They want to go beyond DICOM and traditional radiology/ cardiology, which is really where VNA came from initially.”

Lacy said Fujifilm heard from many customers who “wanted to decouple PACS, and they wanted to have an independent storage environment. Maybe they were thinking about sharing cardiology/radiology storage, but in most cases it was [vendor-specific]. Now they’re looking at their VNA as a truly independent archive for content, regardless of radiology/cardiology vendors.”

Among the key improved components Fujifilm will demonstrate at HIMSS15 is Synapse VNA’s capture tool, with which providers can associate patients with images and other information already in the patient’s EHR.

“The connection comes from the VNA to our iPad capture app, so you can take a picture and have it automatically associate with the correct patient, because you’re linked to the EHR through the VNA,” Lacy explained. “Within seconds, the VNA has that image, which is natively stored. Then, that image, in JPEG format on the iPad, can be displayed on the enterprise viewer in its native format with that patient’s record.”

Most VNAs in use today were installed during storage-replacement projects in cardiology, radiology or both, said Lacy, adding that the initial motivator was typically to migrate millions of studies from one vendor’s application to another’s. “They now know they want VNA, and they have a vision for expanding VNA for the use in all these other clinical areas,” he said. “It makes sense for them to migrate those into a VNA even if they don’t intend to fully utilize the VNA until later.”

Lacy expressed his hope that providers will head to HIMSS15 with a new mindset on VNA and a desire to learn how they could adopt it in their respective environments.

“We’re at a point where we have the experience now to have really good conversations about how they can best take advantage of VNA technology, which probably wasn’t the case in years past. It was more exploratory,” he said. “I think most people coming to HIMSS know that this is a technology they can use in multiple ways. It already makes some sense to them. We hope to have the conversations to explain why it’s a necessity.”

There’s more to Synapse VNA—and to the Synapse Mobility enterprise viewer that harmonizes with it—and Fujifilm will be showcasing it all at Booth 3402.