DICOM Medical Imaging

DICOM is the global standard in the niche of medical or healthcare imaging. DICOM stands for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine. This standard was created by the NEMAŚNational Electrical Manufacturers Association with the view of ensuring that creation, processing, distribution, sharing and viewing of medical images is conducted according to a standardized process. This includes medical and diagnostic images created through MRI testing, CT scans and Ultrasounds. Part 10 of DICOM Medical Imaging standard fully explains the file format that should be used for the distribution and sharing of such images.

Why is DICOM Medical Imaging Standard Needed?

DICOM Medical Imaging standard even provides the kind of extensions that should be used as per the guidelines of the NEMA. Such benchmarks are very critical to the healthcare niche since the entire patient-care segment is moving towards adopting digitalized way of processing and saving patient records. The creation and storage of patient details in the digitalized format, including image-based records, needs a certain degree of streamlining to ensure that healthcare entities are at par when it comes to processing patient data. DICOM Medical Imaging Standard seeks to achieve this goal in case of patient image studies. As a result, most healthcare entities are increasingly adopting image file formats and extensions that are compliant with Part 10 of DICOM Medical Imaging Standard.

Understanding DICOM Medical Imaging Standard in Greater Detail

To understand the utility of following DICOM Medical Imaging Standards, it is vital to be familiar with what a typical DICOM file represents. The conventional DICOM file has a header that entails information such as the patient's name, kind of scanning prescribed and indicated image dimensions apart from well-detailed image data that is presented in the three-dimensional format. Please note that the DICOM file format is quite different from the previous, Analyze format that used to store image data as a part of single, .img file and the header information in a separate, .hdr file. Another notable difference is that DICOM Image Data can be further encapsulated or compressed for reducing the size of the patient data files. This provision of compressing image size was not available in none of the traditional image-saving formats. DICOM Image Data file can be compressed using different variants of JPEG format apart from the file compression achieved through Run Length Encoding format that is quite similar to the TIFF image format.

DICOM has quickly emerged as the most versatile and adopted standard among larger healthcare settings like hospitals that follow DICOM benchmarks in the most comprehensive manner. The use of DICOM image format ensures that various specialties within the same hospital, such as neurosurgeons or neuropsychologists, needing Neuroimaging definition scans can easily convert the DICOM files into the Analyze format if they wish to do so. There are many freeware available for doing so, such as MRIcro software, which can directly convert DICOM into the Analyze format for physicians who are yet not very familiar with using DICOM files. Other such free softwares that can handle DICOM files include XMedcon and Medcon.

DICOM Medical Imaging Standards & PACS

DICOM Medical Imaging standards have now achieved compliance with PACS imaging software guidelines. PACS or Picture Archiving and Communications System is the worldwide leader in setting benchmarks for how electronically created images should be saved, retrieved and viewed for a faster and more efficient diagnostic process. Using PACS means that health professionals can access images (patient scans) by just clicking their mouse. The compliance between PACS and DICOM Medical Imaging standards means that DICOM-enabled imaging solutions are supported by various kinds of PACS-compliant systems such as PACS Radiology Systems. This has been achieved by using softwares that can convert tags in DICOM imaging format into smaller titles as a part of the RIS PACS system, ensuring seamless fusion with PACS imaging softwares.