VNA to the rescue: Curbing excessive costs in imaging

Cutting down on exorbitant costs associated with imaging errors, including excessive and repetitive radiology procedures, is a major goal for providers. There's no quick fix, but installing a vendor-neutral archive (VNA) could be an important piece of the puzzle.

A recent report from peer60 found that as much as $12 billion is wasted annually on unnecessary imaging exams, much of which stems from a lack of communication among radiologists, clinicians and other healthcare providers.

“Most hospitals are working towards reducing unnecessary imaging but have been unable to do so,” peer60 said in the report.

The key could be utilization of a VNA, an emerging tool that is among the most exciting new technologies in medical imaging, according to a separate survey of providers also conducted by the Utah-based research software company.

VNA technology provides an easy-to-use solution for providers who send, receive and archive images stemming from radiology examinations. All relevant parties can access the resulting images and other information through an online portal, which serves to reduce mistakes associated with repeated exams and unnecessary imaging procedures.

But which vendor is top-of-mind when it comes to VNA? According to the 554 healthcare providers who participated in the peer60 survey, Merge Healthcare was indicated as the top VNA technology by 20 percent of respondents.

Ultimately, the rise of VNA technology and its expanding use throughout healthcare will help eliminate the negative consequences of excessive imaging on providers, physicians and their patients.