DICOM influence spreads beyond imaging to medical records

March 2, 2004

Researchers in China have developed a Web-based system to interactively display DICOM-based electronic medical records for intranet and Internet collaborative medical applications. Geared toward improving the efficiency of medical record integration, the

Researchers in China have developed a Web-based system to interactively display DICOM-based electronic medical records for intranet and Internet collaborative medical applications. Geared toward improving the efficiency of medical record integration, the setup enables physicians and other users to access and navigate the electronic patient record (EPR) easily from anywhere.

"We used Web architecture to build an EPR system, which makes it easy to access the EPR through our intranet and the Internet," said Jianguo Zhang, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Laboratory for Medical Imaging Informatics, Shanghai Institute of Technical Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences.

The system consists of a DICOM gateway, a Web-based EPR server, and a DICOM viewer. The gateway is used to convert non-DICOM medical records such as images, structured reports, stream data, or treatment plans to DICOM objects that are sent to the server for storage.

The server also has a Web interface to communicate with the viewers, which can then be used to display and manipulate the DICOM EPR. During networked collaborative applications, users can retrieve DICOM data from the server with the viewer, then display, manipulate, and navigate EPRs interactively.

The viewer also has remote control capability on both local and remote EPRs to synchronize operative functions, such as image manipulation, report reviewing, playbacks on stream data, and waveform curves.

"We have successfully employed this system to support teleradiology, distant learning, and cardiology teleconferencing for several months," Zhang said.

The system could change the operation of telemedicine mode from point-to-point to central mode in the future, with the support of a high-speed network, according to Zhang.

"That way, once the consulted EPRs are sent to the central Web server, any registered user can access the EPRs and perform any kind of telemedicine applications," he said.