ASHTEAD, UK AND WOBURN, MA – February 28, 2012 – BridgeHead Software’s second-annual healthcare data management survey confirms most hospitals want more control over the storage and management of their medical image data, seen as the top cause of healthcare data growth.

BridgeHead Software, keen to continue its success from the last Healthcare Data Management Survey, once again approached IT professionals from hospitals all over the world about their most pressing needs.

According to the results, the majority of hospitals want vendor neutrality with more control over their image data. For example:

  • 51% of respondents said their organisations would likely require their next PACS application to be compatible with a third-party, vendor-neutral archive (VNA) for the storage of DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) images;
  • 16% said their organisations would not even consider purchasing a PACS application that was incompatible with a third-party VNA;
  • 36% said their facilities already had such an archive or planned to deploy one.

In the UK, the importance of vendor neutrality was even more pronounced than in the global sample. For example:

  • 66% of UK respondents said their facilities would likely require their next PACS to be compatible with a third-party VNA;
  • 25% said their facilities would not even consider purchasing a PACS application that was incompatible with a third-party VNA;
  • Half of UK respondents said their facilities already planned to implement a vendor-neutral archiving strategy.

Hospitals are awakening to the wide variety of financial and technological benefits they can obtain simply by incorporating a fully independent, vendor-neutral archive into their IT environments,” said Jim Beagle, CEO of BridgeHead Software. “However, there is still much confusion as to what a VNA actually is – something we have tried to address in our recent white paper, ‘What Should the NHS Expect from Vendor Neutral Archiving?’. It’s not just about managing medical images: VNAs help hospitals to improve data access and interoperability across all of their systems, including non-DICOM images, email, scanned patient documents, and more. VNAs can also help hospitals take back ownership of their data, allowing them to optimise use of their existing storage infrastructure and systems investments, reducing redundancy and often delaying expensive storage refreshes until they are truly needed.

The survey also confirms that medical image studies, such as X-rays, MRIs and ultrasounds, are the main driver of hospital data growth, with a majority of 63% of respondents citing PACS as the top cause for their bulging data volumes. In the UK, an overwhelming 70% of respondents cited PACS as a main cause of data growth. These figures echo the results from BridgeHead’s 2010 data management survey, where 65% of global respondents cited PACS as one of the main data growth drivers.

PACS applications, which were initially focused primarily on radiology, are increasingly being applied to other hospital departments,” said Jim Beagle. “Because of the ever-widening scope of PACS technologies, the rate of data growth in imaging outside of radiology is actually much faster than in radiology itself, particularly in areas like digital pathology. As healthcare organisations take advantage of newer imaging technologies, so the upsurge in medical image data continues. Now is the time for hospitals to implement a robust data management strategy to future-proof against the inevitable, exponential data growth that will ensue.

Hospitals struggling to get to grips with data management challenges are encouraged to download BridgeHead Software’s free FileScan tool, which profiles an organisation’s data and provides a detailed report to help hospital leaders make informed business decisions.

To register to receive full results from this year’s survey as soon as they are available, please contact