VNA vs PACS Viewer

Good afternoon,

Just a quick query for everyone.
We are shortly due to go live with a new PACS provider and a third party VNA.
There is a conversation in the trust regarding which viewer should be used by clinicians outside of Radiology.
The trust is keen for the VNA viewer to be used as the primary option (via a hyperlink through the EPR) as this will eventually store all other ‘ologies’; however, in Radiology we feel that clinicians will miss out on the benefits of a Radiology specific viewer and any additional functionality that may be created from in-PACS reporting.
I just wondered if anyone else had been in this position or had this setup and had any views/advice?

Many thanks,


Hi Zoe,

This may be difficult to answer without knowing the gap between the two products, but you may find that outside of Radiology the viewing functionality requirements are more diverse than some may assume.

Is there a way to audit functions used by users within your previous system?

Are there training records/helpdesk logs within the PACS team that may illustrate which features customers used?

Those may help identify historic need, but looking to the future, do you have time to create a customer survey to evidence future need?

Regards Tim


We are in exactly the same position at present with the potential for a new PACS solution going in and the option to have the PACS viewer being used from the EPR to access imaging.

Having had our VNA Viewer in place for a long while and looking at replacing it with the PACS zero-footprint viewer, I would suggest that you look at the following:

  • Does the VNA have any non-radiology/cardiology imaging in it at present?
  • If not, then I would suggest going with your current PACS provider viewer- Do you have a separate cardiology PACS?
  • If so, is the imaging looking to be migrated into the VNA as a long term archive soon?- Do you have cardiology imaging going into your VNA or is it routed/stored in your PACS too?
  • If so, does your VNA Viewer perform well with large echo studies, for example?- Does your PACS supplier’s viewer have the capacity to query/retrieve from the VNA as well?
  • If so, you may wish to consider this option too?

Essentially, is there anything that will tip the scales in favour of the VNA viewer being used (e.g. are you going to have endoscopy, bronchoscopy, ophthalmology or pathology going into the VNA soon).

If not, then think of the reduction of admin overhead, access control, testing and governance that you will NOT have to do if you stick with your PACS viewer- assuming that the radiographers will be using the PACS Viewer anyway?

Happy to have a chat if you want to go through anything.


Hi Zoe,

We have two viewers - I’ll call them ‘standard’ and ‘advanced’:

Standard viewer - This is available through our EPR and has a standard open API integration. All Trust users also have the option to access this viewer directly if they wish. Thats worth considering, particularly if your integration will only support either the local hospital number or the NHS number.

Advanced Viewer - This is mainly used within radiology as it has the advanced functionality that our Radiologists require.

Access to either viewer is managed via our Trusts Active Directory.

That’s been our high-level rollout plan. However, rather than be too prescriptive, we have tried where possible to provide individuals/depts with the viewer which best supports their workflow. I appreciate that other factors come sometimes come into play which can impact on your decision making e.g. licensing costs etc. Thankfully we are no longer restricted by that with our new pacs provider.

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Depending on the suppliers can your 2 systems trigger their own context launch in to each other?

We use a ‘lite’ client in context from our EPR but this client is capable of subsequently launching our ‘full fat application’, again in context with passthrough of the AD credentials should the advance tools be required.


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