By Cynthia E. Keen, staff writer

July 13, 2012 -- Most healthcare providers in the U.S. are in the early stages of forming an enterprise imaging strategy, according to a new study by research firm KLAS. However, most felt that no single vendor could deliver all the pieces needed for their strategy.

Those surveyed were generally planning two main approaches: a PACS enterprise archive or a vendor-neutral archive (VNA), according to the KLAS report.

Of the providers surveyed, 27% believed a VNA should be central to their enterprise imaging strategy, whereas 25% opted for a PACS-centric archive strategy. A PACS archive was more popular among providers in facilities with fewer than 500 beds, according to the report.

GE Healthcare and Philips Healthcare were mentioned the most by those interviewed as strategic enterprise imaging partners, and customers of these vendors interested in pursuing a PACS-centric archive strategy intended to stick with them. KLAS suggested that Fujifilm Medical Systems USA also had a strong offering.

KLAS reported that the most often cited vendors for a VNA-centric strategy were Agfa HealthCare and Merge Healthcare. Agfa customers using its Impax Data Center said they were dedicated to making it work in spite of stated difficulties. Merge customers are awaiting the company's iConnect platform, in addition to complete integration of its products.

Image management technology developer Acuo Technologies and medical informatics firm TeraMedica were the primary non-PACS vendors offering VNA products, the report stated.

Acuo customers said that image distribution and data migration provided a viable archive option for providers who do not want to rely solely on a PACS archive. Several TeraMedica customers said they were starting to leverage the company's ability to store clinical content other than DICOM in its native format, and others commented on its value-based orientation.

Additional companies referenced in the report include Carestream Health, Cerner, Dell, DR Systems, EMC, McKesson, ScImage, Sectra, and Siemens Healthcare.

Copyright © 2012

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