Monday, September 20, 2004

What is DICOM and Why DICOM

      DICOM is Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine and is a standard mainly used to distribute and view medical image files such as X-Rays, CT scans, MRIs, and ultrasound images.
      We are all used to the XRay film sheets we get from a hospital when we go in for a scan. Very cumbesome, difficult to archive, there are hospitals with librarians just to catalog and maintain these films for insurance and medical standards compliance purposes.
Now as we move to a digital world, we have softwares capable of viewing these images online and doctors remotely viewing/annotating these images (as reference material) and patients carrying home a/some digital picture(s)/movie(s) of the scan they had for insurance purposes, etc. All this is possible by the universal DICOM standard.
      Many companies have their own custom additions to the DICOM standards so two DICOM files from two vendors need not have the same contents even if they were from the same patient and output from the same medical device with the same resolution, settings etc. This is also part of DICOM flexibility, that private attributes may be added to facilitate a vendors custom needs to enhance the customer experience with the vendors software, etc.
      I leave you with lots of links to DICOM standards docs, some freeware to process these DICOM image files, and of course sample DICOM Image links, needless to say, thanking the authors for their public sites.

DICOM introduction and free software

Medical Imaging: Samples

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