As imaging heads 'into Big Data territory,' VNAs and PACS to fuel big growth

By Mike Miliard
10:58 AM

The vendor-neutral archive (VNA) market is projected to nearly double to $210 million by 2018, according to a new report from Frost & Sullivan. Picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) are also set to more than double over the same period.


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Frost & Sullivan’s "U.S. Enterprise Medical Image Archiving Market" study finds that the PACS archive market, composed primarily of incumbent PACS vendors, will grow to $168.2 million in 2018, up from revenues of $77.4 million in 2011.


The VNA market, which consists of third-party vendors that provide PACS-neutral archives, was valued at $110.5 million in 2011. Frost & Sullivan research suggests that current market trends, coupled with strategic investments, will mean revenues will sustain double digit growth in the VNA and PACS markets over the next seven years.

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“Although they have been around for about 10 years, VNAs have been expanding only gradually into the marketplace – mostly following top-down expansion," said Frost & Sullivan Principal Analyst Nadim Daher. "However, market adoption is accelerating with the major PACS vendors moving more decisively and proactively into enterprise archives."


He added that, “In the wake of ongoing IT consolidation of distributed hospital organizations, enterprise medical image archives are making their way into the marketplace, creating a sizable growth segment for imaging informatics.”


This market expansion happens as the growth in image data volumes grows by leaps and bounds. Increasing average study volumes, evolving regulatory guidelines, a growing imaging patient population, and continuing reliance on imaging by the clinical enterprise are all contributing to pressing image data volume requirements, noted Frost & Sullivan officials.


As this data grows exponentially, the complexity of management, as well as the heightening diversity of image data sources across the enterprise, is also on the rise. This evolution of the medical imaging data landscape has placed enterprise medical image archives at the center stage of the much needed transformation of the traditional imaging informatics ecosystem.


“Providers no longer view the continuance of expanding monolithic and disparate image archives for each imaging department as a sustainable approach, as storage volume requirements for the diversifying imaging enterprise continue to increase exponentially,” said Daher.


“Our forecast model projects that even if diagnostic imaging volumes continue to plateau around the 600 million procedures per year mark, overall storage and archiving volume requirements for U.S. medical imaging data will cross the 1 exabyte mark by 2016.  That is 1,000 petabytes or 1,000,000 terabytes, which marks medical imaging’s definitive entry into Big Data territory.”