Thanks Damien for your contribution to our forum. It is really appreciated.
On the forum we have been championing for open standards & interoperabilty.
We have 3 elements for image process: 1. Image creators--Modalities 2. Image Store 3. Image Display
Currently we can buy best of breed modalities due to globally adopted DICOM standard by vendors.
However, PACS vendors continue to supply image store & display tied together.
Vendor Neutral Archive is the image store in my view--(Many PACS suppliers claim to have a VNA. Non PACS vendors Acuo, IBM, are also selling VNAs. And then there is dcm4che as a open source VNA). VNA criteria in my simplistic view-- 1. It will allow you to plug any DICOM modality to it. 2. It will allow plugging of image display software. (I am postive that with attempts like MINT this will happen in the near future.)
One question asked by Nicola at the last meeting "How neutral is your vendor of VNA?"
I think the questions that customers should request in writing 1. What is the process & cost for connecting a new DICOM complaint modality to VNA? 2. What is the process & cost of connecting 1 or more image display sofware to VNA? 3. What will be the cost & process for transferring data to another VNA vendor at the end of contract? 4. Is the VNA an XDS source--i.e. will it allow images held in VNA to be viewed by any clinical departmental system that is compliant as XDS consumer.
Neelam.. One other question related to your no. 3 may be this: What is the process for retrieving our data should the company go belly-up?
I recall investigating the idea of putting our archive 'in the cloud' (as it is known now) way back in 2000. I couldn't get the datacentre operator to answer as the notion, quite simply, was inconceivable.
If we go this route we would plan to put all images into two different stores (currently GE, Conquest and Clear canvas) and also have them replicated on different sites. Storage is a commodity these days.
Support is critical & I think we need a combination of a commercial support service and good in house support. However intellectually with 2013 coming we should think more laterally about what the NHS or groups of trusts can do together.
I agree John. I think it is time for PACS suppliers stop supplying storage hardware with a markup. This will allow Trusts to consolidate & update their storage technologies. 2013 should give innovative & forward looking Trusts like yours an opportunity to save money & also improve your service.