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Medical Imaging with iQ
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What is a VNA and what is an XDS?

Both VNA and XDS seek to enable access to patients’ medical records and images at multiple distributed points of access within and between enterprises.

Vendor Neutral Archive "VNA" – is an information technology that archives digital medical images with documents and files in a standards-compliant way in a central storage infrastructure that meets patient-centred clinical needs both within and across multiple medical specialties regardless of the health IT systems provider.

Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing "XDS" – Is a set of IHE-defined components that enable the standards-compliant sharing of digital medical documents with images and files across multiple healthcare enterprises. "XDS-I" is the branch of XDS dedicated to medical images.

XDS operation is through federated Document Repositories and a Document Registry to create a record of information about a patient from different healthcare facilities within a given clinical affinity. XDS defines the information to be shared and how it is to be effected, with appropriate levels of consent for sharing.


An important distinction to make is that a VNA is a technology based upon standards that provide healthcare enterprises system interoperability and data ownership through system and data format neutrality. IMAGE Information Systems VNA practice is to apply a DICOM Part 10 header to non-DICOM objects which enables facilities to archive from multiple disciplines in a standard format.

Advantages of a VNA

  • Fast and easy health data exchange within seconds with anybody connected
  • Prevention of double examinations
  • Efficient data security system

Object Formats Incorporated

  • DICOM - imaging studies
  • PDF – for example, reports
  • General Text
  • Videos
  • Waveform objects, e.g. ECG
  • etc.

Medical Specialties:

  • General Medicine, e.g. for clinical results
  • Cardiology
  • Radiology
  • Pathology
  • Laboratory
Storage in a VNA

iQ-XDS Profiles

Despite its commonly being referred to as a product, XDS is, in fact, a defined set of IHE standards (actors and transactions). The XDS roles can be fulfilled by a number of applications such as PACS and VNA. For example, iQ-WEBX, at the heart of the iQ-SYSTEM PACS, is enabled to act as an XDS Repository with XDS-I modules such as iQ-4VIEW, as well as other third-part XDS-I enabled HTML5 medical image viewers.

XDS Profiles Supported

  • XDS Document Repository
  • XDS Document Registry
  • XDS Document Consumer
  • XDS Document Source

IMAGE VNA and XDS Consultancy

While the differences between VNA and XDS become clear on examination, superficially the technologies can appear quite similar. In fact, VNA and XDS are two comparable and complementary approaches to a single problem.

IMAGE Information Systems is pleased to offer clients consultancy and advice as well as supply products and services adapted to the exact needs of individual clients.

Storage in XDS
Storage in XDS
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