Three Types of DICOM Viewer for Medical Professionals
Having images compressed, personalized by patient and scan and saved behind a firewall made of impenetrable security is a fantastic advancement in the field of electronic medical record management. But, if those files are saved as .dcm or .DCM, there is little a medical professional can do to read the image if no DICOM viewer is available. A DICOM viewer is not a physical piece of equipment, rather it is software than reads the .dcm or .DCM file and produces a crisp, clear image on a personal computer or ERM hardware device.
There are several types of DICOM software including open source, web-based and retail. Open source software is free of charge and maintains that freedom through donations. The trouble with open source software is the lack of guarantee and the possibility that developers involved with the project will choose to leave it behind without updates or enhancements with new technology.
Web-based DICOM software creates a DICOM viewer from any personal computer. Theoretically, with a web-based utility, a medical professional could access files anywhere from any personal computer with the web-based software. This greatly improves the mobility of medical files, but security is always an issue and with strict HIPAA standards, personal computers would have to be attached to the PACS system with proper security in place before files could be accessed.
Retail DICOM software is commonly used by medical professionals and may come with the PACS set-up. Software needs to be implemented on every EMR hardware device including medical workstations, tablet personal computers and laptop computers used in the practice or clinical setting.