Molecular Imaging News
December 20, 2004
NEMA Releases 2004 Revision of DICOM Standard
National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) has released a sixteen-part update of the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard.
The DICOM Standard is a multi-part set of rules that establishes a single language for exchanging digital images and related information such as patient name, reason for the procedure, instrument used, and more. DICOM enables users to acquire, display, store, query, retrieve, move, or print medical images between instruments, computers, and hospitals. It facilitates interoperability of medical imaging equipment by specifying:
- For network communications, a set of protocols to be followed by devices claiming conformance to the standard.
- The syntax and semantics of commands and associated information which can be exchanged using these protocols.
- For media communication, a set of media storage services to be followed by devices claiming conformance to the standard, as well as a file format and a medical directory structure to facilitate access to the images and related information stored on an interchange media.
- Information that must be supplied when conformance to the standard is claimed in a given implementation.
DICOM is the result of over 20 years of collaboration between software engineers from all major imaging and computer companies, physicians (represented by major professional societies), plus government agencies and trade associations from around the world.
DICOM is used or will soon be used by virtually all medical professionals within the healthcare industry who use images. They include specialists in cardiology, dentistry, endoscopy, mammography, ophthalmology, orthopedics, pathology, pediatrics, radiation therapy, radiology, surgery, and even veterinary medicine.
"About 25 new features have been added to the 2004 standard," says Dwight Simon, medical standards director at Merge eFilm and vendor chair of the DICOM committee, which oversees the publication. These cover everything from web access to new media-such as USB and flash memory devices-that can be used to transport DICOM information. We've added some functionality for some of the newer specialties that use DICOM, such as dentistry, ophthalmology, breast imaging, and OB/GYN. We keep adding features to help users capture the specific information they need to do reporting in such areas as Cath Lab, vascular and intravascular ultrasound, breast imaging, and echocardiography."
"A major enhancement to how DICOM conformance statements are written was added for the 2004 publication," he says. "The conformance statement has been a key factor to the success of DICOM. It gave both users and vendors the ability to understand how products containing DICOM features will integrate. The newly enhanced DICOM conformance statement definition will help the users better understand a product's DICOM functionality and give a much better description of the product's ability to interoperate with another product that supports compatible DICOM features."
Documents may be purchased separately, or the entire set may be purchased by visiting http://www.nema.org/stds/ps3set.cfm, or by contacting Global Engineering Documents at (800) 854-7179 (within the U.S.), (303) 397-7956 (international), (303) 397-2740 (fax), or on the Internet at www.global.ihs.com.
NEMA is the leading trade association in the United States representing the interests of electroindustry manufacturers. Founded in 1926 and headquartered near Washington, D.C., its 400 member companies manufacture products used in the generation, transmission and distribution, control, and end-use of electricity. Domestic shipments of electrical products within the NEMA scope exceed $100 billion.