Is it a PACS-Neutral Archive or Vendor-Neutral Archive?

I guess that depends on how far back in time one extends the search.  I began writing about a PACS-Neutral Archive back in 2007, and those posts are still available on this web site.  I chose the term PACS-Neutral, because I believed that it best described the focus of the neutrality.  The archive would be neutral with respect to the individual PACS systems that would inter-operate with it.  A key to the Neutral Archive’s ability to exchange data between disparate PACS is the feature now commonly referred to as bi-directional dynamic tag morphing.  In this sense the term PACS-Neutral did not refer to the absence of any vendor preference or vendor logo, it referred to the ability of the archive to effectively exchange data between PACS (systems) from different vendors.

As time moved along, the term Vendor-Neutral Archive emerged.  I am not certain of the initial source or sources of this term, or of the logic behind its creation.  Perhaps it came to be simply because the term PACS-Neutral Archive was already in the literature.  (Branding is such a personal thing to some organizations and individuals.)

I have been told that the term Vendor-Neutral Archive refers to an Archive that is neutral with respect to Vendors.  Presumably that means PACS vendors and Server vendors and Storage Solution vendors, because there is clearly a neutral archive application vendor with a vested interest in the system.

I can almost see and hear Andy Rooney of 60 minutes explaining to us “PACS-Neutral, Vendor-Neutral, it’s the same thing, and why people have to invent multiple names for the same thing is beyond me.”.

So just to go on record, as far as I’m concerned, the two terms are interchangeable, and hopefully none of the vendors (both those with the technology and those without) will mount a sinister campaign claiming that one name refers to a technology that is either superior or more feature-rich than the other.  We’re just getting something going here, so let’s make an effort not to confuse everybody.

Besides, months from now, I suspect we will all be simply using “Neutral Archive”, and we will all know what we mean.  At least that is my fervent hope.