Hitachi Data Systems (incorporated entity of Hitachi Corporation) and Philips are working at creating a digital platform Vendor Neutral Archive (VNA) to provide simple access to medical storage systems of different range and formats that are involved in digital imaging. This solution is announced to become a universal data management system. Besides, other services embedded in the platform are data search, archiving and analysis.
“Today technologies can directly influence the development of socially vital branches such as healthcare. That’s why innovative developments in this realm is an important business area for any IT developer. Medicine is a field where innovative solutions can solve problems of millions of people”, believes Juriy Skachkov, a managing director of Hitachi Data Systems RCIS. “According to the data provided by World Health Organization more than a half of cancer cases are diagnosed at Stage III and IV, when the chances of full recovery are minimal. We are sure that VNA solution will be able to benefit doctors dramatically at the diagnostic stage of treatment: integration of all medical images on one platform will help to upgrade the diagnostics in general and reach diagnoses that are more accurate. Good diagnostics plays a significant role in treatment process: incorrect medicine decision may have critical consequences for a patient. Furthermore, when it concerns cancer treatment or heart attack/stroke prevention, incorrect diagnosis may cost a human life”. At present stage of IT development the storage of vitally important documents in a non-digital format, seems to be at least too impractical, as Juriy Skachkov explains it. “No doubt that many patients of clinics and hospitals faced such a problem: health records on previous treatment and diagnoses are difficult to find in paper card files, and very often they can be just lost. Mess in documents interferes doctor’s work with patients. Absence of previous tests delays treatment and seriously decreases the quality of provided healthcare. That’s why the possibility to supply doctors with digital health records and diagnostic data available at anytime and anywhere, notwithstanding the level of medical establishment, is a great breakthrough in Russian medicine”.
In fact, users will get an information aggregator, thus, a request for information for a user will seem to be a simple search in one database. Service will operate in the framework of SaaS model, as well as locally using hybrid infrastructure. The exploitation of VNA will start in late 2016. According to the characteristics claimed by the developers, the service is mainly supposed for state healthcare establishments’ usage. VNA will solve an urgent for many healthcare establishments problem, when millions of images of different formats are stored in different databases and organizations, making them unavailable for medical staff.
The creators of the project plan that this system will enable doctors’ access to visual information stored in any database within the country. As a result, an attending doctor will get full information about his patient’s health condition and its changes; consequently, the efficiency of treatment will increase.
As a rule, solutions like VNA are used in large medical institutions to meet the efficiency and scalability requirements of databases. HDS & Pphilips project will enable to create a universal platform of visual data management, which will be adjustable and effective, explains Yair Briman, the General President and Manager of Healthcare IT in Philips. Visualization of exams is becoming more and more popular with medical establishments for diagnostic and treatment purposes. Consequently, treatment and research establishments often face storage and retrieve problems with images, which digital quality is improving, increasing their volume. Another problem is different formats and absence of one database including all information needed.
For example, some medical establishments produce more than 2 million of images a week. They are X-ray, computer and ultrasound tomography images, needed for surgery, cardiology, oncology, dermatology, plastic surgery units etc. In addition, it is expected that after discoveries in medicine branches that study different pathologies, there will be a breakthrough in data storage: a copy of one medical exam may have several hundreds of megabytes. Thus, access to results may be hampered due to different places of their storage. Thus, a universal solution providing high-speed access to visualized data is desperately needed for reducing costs, avoiding taking the same exams many times and improving treatment results.