Vendor Neutral Archive | Universal Archive

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A truly vendor neutral archive

Ncompass Universal Archive, a vendor neutral, object-based storage solution, is architected to house both DICOM and non-DICOM (photos, videos, and other clinical multimedia). This universal vendor neutral archive is a reliable short and long-term archive with lifecycle management and cost-efficient, off-site storage options that reduce hardware and accompanying costs. Storage is organized both on and off-site according to organizational needs and preferences in order to optimize access, workflow and create a complete disaster recovery solution.

While some self-labeled vendor neutral archive (VNA) solutions claim vendor neutrality, many of them still use a proprietary archive, which is why Novarad provides a Universal Archive. The Ncompass Universal Archive is a standards-based, XDS-compliant solution that permanently eliminates the need for expensive data migrations that disrupt clinical workflow.

The Ncompass solution utilizes a state of the art universal viewer with patient-centric access clinical information through a zero-footprint web browser.

Many hospitals have images in departments across the healthcare enterprise that are not part of the patient record unless manual processes are implemented to bring these records into the EMR. It is common for many healthcare institutions and hospitals to access more than one archive to access and view relevant images for a typical patient. Novarad’s Enterprise Imaging Solution includes the Ncompass Universal Viewer embedded into your EMR giving you the ability to view all clinical information, in both DICOM and non-DICOM formats. This ensures clinicians and healthcare providers have access to a complete patient record. This saves them money by eliminating manual processes, increases security by ensuring HIPAA compliance.


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When it comes to acquiring a vendor neutral archive and implementing an enterprise imaging solution, there are differing opinions from vendors, industry experts and imaging professionals as to what features and functionality these products should have. Although the necessity of some features are dependent upon the facilities existing programs, workflows and needs, here are the features that must be in any vendor neutral archive:

True Vendor Neutrality

There are several different VNAs and enterprise imaging systems made by different manufacturers, each with its own proprietary file format system. Due to these proprietary file format systems, there is a concern that once a healthcare institution commits to a specific vendor, they will be forced to continue buying future solutions from the same vendor. Additionally, other imaging vendors charge healthcare providers to convert this data back into its native format, essentially holding the data for ransom until the additional fees and charges are paid.

The Ncompass Universal Archive obliterates this concern by storing all data in a non-proprietary, native format allowing for easier integration with existing or future systems. This also provides a clear path for growth as data ownership is turned back to the healthcare facility, which allows decision-makers to move forward with growth without the burdens that come from a typical imaging vendor.

DICOM & Non-DICOM Compatibility

VNAs must have a viewer that works with DICOM and non-DICOM data. This allows healthcare professionals to store, query, and access the different images and documents all within the medical record. This is all done behind the scenes while the user works with a simple, intuitive interface.

Healthcare providers can pull up x-rays, MRIs, and other medical images and view them all at once, to get a complete picture of a patient’s health and make an accurate diagnosis. Novarad has addressed this need through the Ncompass Universal Viewer, which stores information in a patient-centric viewer that aggregates both DICOM and clinical multimedia into one imaging record.

Secure Mobile App for Image Capture

Healthcare providers are embracing the value of visible light images because of the obvious medical value and because image capture has become second nature due to social media and the proliferation of camera-equipped smart devices. The challenge is that methodologies to store, organize and secure these images have not yet evolved at the same pace of the capture technologies.  Integrating non-DICOM images into healthcare image management workflows remains a challenge for many healthcare facilities – ER patient snapshots, wound care photos, videos and other visible light images are still being lost outside of EHRs and Enterprise Imaging Systems. All patients must be managed for HIPAA compliance and to prevent the release of Protected Health Information (PHI). The mobile application, SnapView®, helps solve this problem by allowing healthcare personnel to use supported iOS, Android and Windows Mobile devices to capture images without leaving behind any PHI.

Allows for Administrative Updates

In addition to this, an effective system must allow clinicians to make administrative updates and corrections. For example, it is possible that a patient could have several types of imaging done that did not, for whatever reason; end up as a part of the same record. In this situation, an employee could go into the system, find the two records, and merge them into a single patient’s record


Scalability is crucial to the success of a healthcare organization. An image archive must scale and easily be responsive to the constant changes that are present within the industry. The Ncompass Universal Archive is designed to grow in proportion with the amount of imaging data generated by the healthcare facility. As well as scaling with the facility’s image output, the Universal Archive easily integrates with new or existing systems this allows the facility to scale in areas beyond the image department.

Efficient Upgrades

In addition to this ability to integrate multiple departments, a good system will be able to be upgraded easily. Even as the viewing, acquisition, and workflow management components of the VNA are upgraded, because of the standardized data formats, the systems are effectively interchangeable without having to change the data formats and interfaces every time.”

Lifecycle Management

As past trends have proven, the amount of data generated in healthcare grows at an exponential rate. This compounding increase in data generation can cost healthcare organizations both money and resources over an extended period of time. In addition to this, some data must be stored for seven years and other data has a three-year lifecycle. The automated lifecycle management addresses this issue. Within the Universal Archive users can set up a customizable set of rules where, when it is no longer required to store certain types of data or the data does not need to be readily available, the system can purge data or route it to a cheaper storage solution. Doing this frees up more on-site storage space for more images and saves medical facilities money as they use less storage space.

Image Exchange Network

To better help hospital groups and organizations securely share and exchange patient information, Novarad has architected a network to facilitate complete image and information exchange while protecting each hospital’s patient database. Through a central server, hospitals can run a query for the images of a patient from all participating hospitals. Only patient information with an exact match is returned. This allows collaborating hospitals to effectively and freely share patient images that prevent repeat exams or allow for more in-depth comparison studies. Novarad’s Image Exchange improves the speed, efficiency, and cost of sharing and transferring necessary imaging content or information without potential security risks that may come with use of the cloud–all this while still protecting patient information and the competition between hospitals or hospital groups.

Object Vault™

With legacy PACS, reliability and security are imperfect, ever-growing data sets create performance issues, non-radiology objects are precluded, and scalability is limited. Leveraging high-end computerization, Novrad’s Object Vault™ uses object store technology as a solution that creates a secure, active archive environment that efficiently consolidates data objects from various storage silos. Retrieval speeds for large datasets are up to two times faster than other architectures. Additionally, it offers enhanced security, both in motion and at rest, due to military-grade encryption which minimizes the likelihood of data breaches.


Object Store: A Faster and More Secure Alternative to Existing PACS Architecture from Novarad on Vimeo.