OREM, Utah - July 27, 2009 - Many hospitals are considering new vendor-neutral solutions for archiving and accessing medical images in order to avoid being locked in to closed, proprietary software, according to a new report from KLAS.
In Enterprise Imaging: A Vendor Reality Check, KLAS examines the enterprise imaging (EI) market - which aims to deliver access to medical images across hospital departments - and explores the vendor solutions healthcare providers are considering most. The study found that while many providers are looking to their picture archiving and communication system (PACS) vendor as a likely EI partner, they also recognize the potential pitfalls of getting locked into a proprietary solution that may not translate well from one department to another.
"Traditional PACS vendors like Philips, GE, McKesson and FUJIFILM were frequently mentioned by providers as likely candidates for an EI solution," said Ben Brown, general manager of imaging informatics for KLAS and author of the new EI report. "But those same providers were also adamant that they want to own their image data and not leave it hostage to the PACS vendor.
"A number of hospitals are beginning to take ownership of their medical images by building PACS-neutral archives and storage management layers," Brown said. "This approach allows the PACS to simply become a physician-friendly viewing and interaction layer that can be upgraded or replaced without the typically painful migration."
Outside of PACS, many providers also referenced storage and archive solution vendors, such as EMC, IBM and HP, as potential EI partners. Each of those companies has partnered with middleware vendors - EMC with Acuo and IBM and HP with Bycast - to deliver vendor-neutral archive products that federate data from DICOM application or storage layers. Similar solutions from DeJarnette and TeraMedica also enjoy some mindshare with providers. In addition, as the amount of imaging data being archived continues to grow, some providers have looked to outsource their archive and image management to companies like GE, InSite One and Philips.
In total, Philips was the most frequently mentioned EI vendor, followed by GE, McKesson, EMC, FUJIFILM, Agfa, IBM, Siemens, AMICAS (Emageon) and HP. Philips, in particular, poses interesting questions for providers. As the vendor most frequently associated with enterprise imaging, Philips owns tremendous mindshare in the imaging space, offering widely deployed solutions in PACS, cardiology PACS and other areas. At the same time, Philips had the highest number of clients report the possibility of replacing its cardiology solution, and the company's cardiology strategy has been criticized for being somewhat confusing and fragmented.
The KLAS report notes that while radiology, nuclear medicine and cardiology enjoy significant adoption of digital imaging management, other departments such as oncology, endoscopy and pathology are still fairly immature in their use of the technology. Among those, digital pathology brings with it a number of unique challenges, including enormous data sets that can adversely affect image distribution and transfer speeds. Some industry experts estimate that pathology images represent a larger data volume than all other imaging specialties combined.
To learn more about the enterprise imaging market, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of participating vendors, the report Enterprise Imaging: A Vendor Reality Check is available to healthcare providers online for a significant discount off the standard retail price. To purchase the full report, healthcare providers and vendors can visit www.KLASresearch.com.
KLAS is a research firm specializing in monitoring and reporting the performance of healthcare vendors. KLAS' mission is to improve delivery, by independently measuring vendor performance for the benefit of our healthcare provider partners, consultants, investors, and vendors. Working together with executives from over 4500 hospitals and over 2500 clinics, KLAS delivers timely reports, trends, and statistics, which provide a solid overview of vendor performance in the industry. KLAS measures performance of software, professional services, and medical equipment vendors. For more information, go to www.KLASresearch.com, email [email protected], or call 1-800-920-4109 to speak with a KLAS representative.