DICOM revision integrates past year’s changes

May 4, 2007

Industry leaders have updated the DICOM standard that governs the exchange of digital images and patient information among medical imaging devices. The revision pulls together the various additions and changes made over the last 12 months into a single integrated document, according to Howard Clark, DICOM secretariat.

Industry leaders have updated the DICOM standard that governs the exchange of digital images and patient information among medical imaging devices. The revision pulls together the various additions and changes made over the last 12 months into a single integrated document, according to Howard Clark, DICOM secretariat.

He serves on staff at the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance, a division of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association. Clark facilitated the work done by the alliance, its corporate members, and practitioners in the imaging community to finalize the document.

"One year after the next, a new document is printed to gather together all the changes that have occurred and also to put in one place the extensions of the standards, where we have added new capability," Clark said.

NEMA publishes such updates periodically, usually every 12 to 16 months. The 2007 edition contains three new supplements that address segmentation storage of service-object pair (SOP) class, deformable spatial registration storage for SOP class, and e-mail transport.

The DICOM standard, initially developed 20 years ago through joint efforts of the American College of Radiology and NEMA, has provided the foundation for PACS and the framework for its interface with other medical information systems. It serves as the language for imaging data interchange, addressing virtually every aspect involved in the acquisition, viewing, and storage of images, and applies to network environments, as well as storage media.

"Technology evolves, and suddenly you can have equipment doing things that it didn't do before," Clark said. "In updating DICOM, we are striving for interoperability."