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1.  Linking Whole-Slide Microscope Images with DICOM by Using JPEG2000 Interactive Protocol 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2009;23(4):454-462.
The use of digitized histopathologic specimens (also known as whole-slide images (WSIs)) in clinical medicine requires compatibility with the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard. Unfortunately, WSIs usually exceed DICOM image object size limit, making it impossible to store and exchange them in a straightforward way. Moreover, transmitting the entire DICOM image for viewing is ineffective for WSIs. With the JPEG2000 Interactive Protocol (JPIP), WSIs can be linked with DICOM by transmitting image data over an auxiliary connection, apart from patient data. In this study, we explored the feasibility of using JPIP to link JPEG2000 WSIs with a DICOM-based Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). We first modified an open-source DICOM library by adding support for JPIP as described in the existing DICOM Supplement 106. Second, the modified library was used as a basis for a software package (JVSdicom), which provides a proof-of-concept for a DICOM client–server system that can transmit patient data, conventional DICOM imagery (e.g., radiological), and JPIP-linked JPEG2000 WSIs. The software package consists of a compression application (JVSdicom Compressor) for producing DICOM-compatible JPEG2000 WSIs, a DICOM PACS server application (JVSdicom Server), and a DICOM PACS client application (JVSdicom Workstation). JVSdicom is available for free from our Web site (http://jvsmicroscope.uta.fi/), which also features a public JVSdicom Server, containing example X-ray images and histopathology WSIs of breast cancer cases. The software developed indicates that JPEG2000 and JPIP provide a well-working solution for linking WSIs with DICOM, requiring only minor modifications to current DICOM standard specification.
doi:10.1007/s10278-009-9200-1
PMCID: PMC2896636  PMID: 19415383
Digital pathology; telepathology; DICOM; JPEG2000; JPIP; virtual slide; whole-slide imaging; WSI
2.  Linking Whole-Slide Microscope Images with DICOM by Using JPEG2000 Interactive Protocol 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2009;23(4):454-462.
The use of digitized histopathologic specimens (also known as whole-slide images (WSIs)) in clinical medicine requires compatibility with the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard. Unfortunately, WSIs usually exceed DICOM image object size limit, making it impossible to store and exchange them in a straightforward way. Moreover, transmitting the entire DICOM image for viewing is ineffective for WSIs. With the JPEG2000 Interactive Protocol (JPIP), WSIs can be linked with DICOM by transmitting image data over an auxiliary connection, apart from patient data. In this study, we explored the feasibility of using JPIP to link JPEG2000 WSIs with a DICOM-based Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS). We first modified an open-source DICOM library by adding support for JPIP as described in the existing DICOM Supplement 106. Second, the modified library was used as a basis for a software package (JVSdicom), which provides a proof-of-concept for a DICOM client–server system that can transmit patient data, conventional DICOM imagery (e.g., radiological), and JPIP-linked JPEG2000 WSIs. The software package consists of a compression application (JVSdicom Compressor) for producing DICOM-compatible JPEG2000 WSIs, a DICOM PACS server application (JVSdicom Server), and a DICOM PACS client application (JVSdicom Workstation). JVSdicom is available for free from our Web site (http://jvsmicroscope.uta.fi/), which also features a public JVSdicom Server, containing example X-ray images and histopathology WSIs of breast cancer cases. The software developed indicates that JPEG2000 and JPIP provide a well-working solution for linking WSIs with DICOM, requiring only minor modifications to current DICOM standard specification.
doi:10.1007/s10278-009-9200-1
PMCID: PMC2896636  PMID: 19415383
Digital pathology; telepathology; DICOM; JPEG2000; JPIP; virtual slide; whole-slide imaging; WSI
3.  OSPACS: Ultrasound image management system 
Background
Ultrasound scanning uses the medical imaging format, DICOM, for electronically storing the images and data associated with a particular scan. Large health care facilities typically use a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for storing and retrieving such images. However, these systems are usually not suitable for managing large collections of anonymized ultrasound images gathered during a clinical screening trial.
Results
We have developed a system enabling the accurate archiving and management of ultrasound images gathered during a clinical screening trial. It is based upon a Windows application utilizing an open-source DICOM image viewer and a relational database. The system automates the bulk import of DICOM files from removable media by cross-validating the patient information against an external database, anonymizing the data as well as the image, and then storing the contents of the file as a field in a database record. These image records may then be retrieved from the database and presented in a tree-view control so that the user can select particular images for display in a DICOM viewer or export them to external media.
Conclusion
This system provides error-free automation of ultrasound image archiving and management, suitable for use in a clinical trial. An open-source project has been established to promote continued development of the system.
doi:10.1186/1751-0473-3-11
PMCID: PMC2442597  PMID: 18570637
4.  The use of Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) in the integration of imaging into the electronic patient record at the Department of Veterans Affairs 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2000;13(Suppl 1):133-137.
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard to integrate image data objects from multiple systems for use across the health care enterprise. DICOM uses a structured representation of image data and a communication mechanism that allows the VA to easily acquire images from multiple sources and store them directly into the online patient record. The VA can obtain both radiology and nonradiology images using DICOM, and can display them on low-cost clinican’s color workstations throughout the medical center. High-resolution gray-scale diagnostic-quality multimonitor workstations with specialized viewing software can be used for reading radiology images. The VA’s DICOM capabilities can interface six different commercial picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) and more than 20 different image acquisition modalities. The VA is advancing its use of DICOM beyond radiology. New color imaging applications for gastrointestinal endoscopy and ophthalmology using DICOM are under development. These are the first DICOM offerings for the vendors, who are planning to support the recently passed DICOM Visible Light and Structured Reporting service classes. Implementing these in VistA is a challenge because of the different workflow and software support for these disciplines within the VA hospital information system (HIS) environment.
doi:10.1007/BF03167644
PMCID: PMC3453236  PMID: 10847382
5.  Integration of digital gross pathology images for enterprise-wide access 
Background:
Sharing digital pathology images for enterprise- wide use into a picture archiving and communication system (PACS) is not yet widely adopted. We share our solution and 3-year experience of transmitting such images to an enterprise image server (EIS).
Methods:
Gross pathology images acquired by prosectors were integrated with clinical cases into the laboratory information system's image management module, and stored in JPEG2000 format on a networked image server. Automated daily searches for cases with gross images were used to compile an ASCII text file that was forwarded to a separate institutional Enterprise Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Wrapper (EDW) server. Concurrently, an HL7-based image order for these cases was generated, containing the locations of images and patient data, and forwarded to the EDW, which combined data in these locations to generate images with patient data, as required by DICOM standards. The image and data were then “wrapped” according to DICOM standards, transferred to the PACS servers, and made accessible on an institution-wide basis.
Results:
In total, 26,966 gross images from 9,733 cases were transmitted over the 3-year period from the laboratory information system to the EIS. The average process time for cases with successful automatic uploads (n=9,688) to the EIS was 98 seconds. Only 45 cases (0.5%) failed requiring manual intervention. Uploaded images were immediately available to institution- wide PACS users. Since inception, user feedback has been positive.
Conclusions:
Enterprise- wide PACS- based sharing of pathology images is feasible, provides useful services to clinical staff, and utilizes existing information system and telecommunications infrastructure. PACS-shared pathology images, however, require a “DICOM wrapper” for multisystem compatibility.
doi:10.4103/2153-3539.93892
PMCID: PMC3327039  PMID: 22530178
DICOM; digital image; LIS; PACS; pathology; wrapper
6.  Enterprise-scale image distribution with a Web PACS 
Journal of Digital Imaging  1998;11(Suppl 1):12-17.
The integration of images with existing and new health care information systems poses a number of challenges in a multi-facility network: image distribution to clinicians; making DICOM image headers consistent across information systems; and integration of teleradiology into PACS. A novel, Web-based enterprise PACS architecture introduced at Massachusetts General Hospital provides a solution. Four AMICAS Web/Intranet Image Servers were installed as the default DICOM destination of 10 digital modalities. A fifth AMICAS receives teleradiology studies via the Internet. Each AMICAS includes: a Java-based interface to the IDXrad radiology information system (RIS), a DICOM autorouter to tape-library archives and to the Agfa PACS, a wavelet image compressor/decompressor that preserves compatibility with DICOM workstations, a Web server to distribute images throughout the enterprise, and an extensible interface which permits links between other HIS and AMICAS. Using wavelet compression and Internet standards as its native formats, AMICAS creates a bridge to the DICOM networks of remote imaging centers via the Internet. This teleradiology capability is integrated into the DICOM network and the PACS thereby eliminating the need for special teleradiology workstations. AMICAS has been installed at MGH since March of 1997. During that time, it has been a reliable component of the evolving digital image distribution system. As a result, the recently renovated neurosurgical ICU will be filmless and use only AMICAS workstations for mission-critical patient care.
doi:10.1007/BF03168249
PMCID: PMC3453358  PMID: 9735424
7.  Information Object Definition–based Unified Modeling Language Representation of DICOM Structured Reporting 
Supplement 23 to DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications for Medicine), Structured Reporting, is a specification that supports a semantically rich representation of image and waveform content, enabling experts to share image and related patient information. DICOM SR supports the representation of textual and coded data linked to images and waveforms. Nevertheless, the medical information technology community needs models that work as bridges between the DICOM relational model and open object-oriented technologies. The authors assert that representations of the DICOM Structured Reporting standard, using object-oriented modeling languages such as the Unified Modeling Language, can provide a high-level reference view of the semantically rich framework of DICOM and its complex structures. They have produced an object-oriented model to represent the DICOM SR standard and have derived XML-exchangeable representations of this model using World Wide Web Consortium specifications. They expect the model to benefit developers and system architects who are interested in developing applications that are compliant with the DICOM SR specification.
PMCID: PMC349388  PMID: 11751804
8.  Impact of cross-enterprise data sharing on portable media with decentralised upload of DICOM data into PACS 
Insights into Imaging  2013;5(1):157-164.
Objectives
To evaluate portable media utilisation for image data sharing between enterprises. To predict the costs required to keep up with the trend. To identify related problems.
Methods
A software package was developed to include patient image data from CD into our normal workflow. The trend in the workload of CDs that were uploaded into a Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS) over 89 months was analysed. The average number of images per month (and per investigation) was calculated to provide the estimation of storage and cost required in the whole process.
Results
All Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) files can be read from compact disc (CD) on any workstation in the hospital, processed quickly to the central server and checked after storage using the software tool. A total of 33,982,404 images from 88,952 CDs have been stored into the PACS system. In recent years, the stored images have reached an average of 4.2 terabytes (TB) uncompressed annually.
Conclusion
Integrated information about patients is clearly needed to provide easy and timely access to these data. The steadily growing storage can be solved by a more automated approach to portable media handling or the installation and acceptance of network-based transfer using cross-enterprise document sharing (XDS).
Key points
• Rapid assimilation of external imaging into a PACS system is essential.
• But data distribution using portable media also carries some disadvantages.
• A DICOM data uploader incorporates studies from portable media to hospital workflow.
• Automated media handling or XDS should solve the steadily growing storage problem.
• Software improvements will facilitate the steady increase in the amount of CDs processed.
doi:10.1007/s13244-013-0296-y
PMCID: PMC3948904  PMID: 24243497
Data sharing; Information distribution; CDROM; PACS (Radiology); Radiology information system
9.  System Integration and DICOM Image Creation for PET-MR Fusion 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2004;18(1):28-36.
This article demonstrates a gateway system for converting image fusion results to digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) objects. For the purpose of standardization and integration, we have followed the guidelines of the Integrated Healthcare Enterprise technical framework and developed a DICOM gateway. The gateway system combines data from hospital information system, image fusion results, and the information generated itself to constitute new DICOM objects. All the mandatory tags defined in standard DICOM object were generated in the gateway system. The gateway system will generate two series of SOP instances of each PET-MR fusion result; SOP (Service Object Pair) one for the reconstructed magnetic resonance (MR) images and the other for position emission tomography (PET) images. The size, resolution, spatial coordinates, and number of frames are the same in both series of SOP instances. Every new generated MR image exactly fits with one of the reconstructed PET images. Those DICOM images are stored to the picture archiving and communication system (PACS) server by means of standard DICOM protocols. When those images are retrieved and viewed by standard DICOM viewing systems, both images can be viewed at the same anatomy location. This system is useful for precise diagnosis and therapy.
doi:10.1007/s10278-004-1024-4
PMCID: PMC3047215  PMID: 15937718
DICOM gateway; image fusion; IHE
10.  DICOM Modality Worklist: An essential component in a PACS environment 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2000;13(3):101-108.
The development and acceptance of the digital communication in medicine (DICOM) standard has become a basic requirement for the implementation of electronic imaging in radiology. DICOM is now evolving to provide a standard for electronic communication between radiology and other parts of the hospital enterprise. In a completely integrated filmless radiology department, there are 3 core computer systems, the picture archiving and communication system (PACS), the hospital or radiology information system (HIS, RIS), and the acquisition modality. Ideally, each would have bidirectional communication with the other 2 systems. At a minimum, a PACS must be able to receive and acknowledge receipt of image and demographic data from the modalities. Similarly, the modalities must be able to send images and demographic data to the PACS. Now that basic DICOM communication protocols for query or retrieval, storage, and print classes have become established through both conformance statements and intervendor testing, there has been an increase in interest in enhancing the functionality of communication between the 3 computers. Historically, demographic data passed to the PACS have been generated manually at the modality despite the existence of the same data on the HIS or RIS. In more current sophisticated implementations, acquisition modalities are able to receive patient and study-related data from the HIS or RIS. DICOM Modality Worklist is the missing electronic link that transfers this critical information between the acquisition modalities and the HIS or RIS. This report describes the concepts, issues, and impact of DICOM Modality Worklist implementation in a PACS environment.
doi:10.1007/BF03168381
PMCID: PMC3452969  PMID: 15359747
DICOM; PACS; worklist
11.  XML Schema Representation of DICOM Structured Reporting 
Objective: The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Structured Reporting (SR) standard improves the expressiveness, precision, and comparability of documentation about diagnostic images and waveforms. It supports the interchange of clinical reports in which critical features shown by images and waveforms can be denoted unambiguously by the observer, indexed, and retrieved selectively by subsequent reviewers. It is essential to provide access to clinical reports across the health care enterprise by using technologies that facilitate information exchange and processing by computers as well as provide support for robust and semantically rich standards, such as DICOM. This is supported by the current trend in the healthcare industry towards the use of Extensible Markup Language (XML) technologies for storage and exchange of medical information. The objective of the work reported here is to develop XML Schema for representing DICOM SR as XML documents.
Design: We briefly describe the document type definition (DTD) for XML and its limitations, followed by XML Schema (the intended replacement for DTD) and its features. A framework for generating XML Schema for representing DICOM SR in XML is presented next.
Measurements: None applicable.
Results: A schema instance based on an SR example in the DICOM specification was created and validated against the schema. The schema is being used extensively in producing reports on Philips Medical Systems ultrasound equipment.
Conclusion: With the framework described it is feasible to generate XML Schema using the existing DICOM SR specification. It can also be applied to generate XML Schemas for other DICOM information objects.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M1042
PMCID: PMC150374  PMID: 12595410
12.  Understanding and Using DICOM, the Data Interchange Standard for Biomedical Imaging 
Abstract
The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard specifies a non-proprietary data interchange protocol, digital image format, and file structure for biomedical images and image-related information. The fundamental concepts of the DICOM message protocol, services, and information objects are reviewed as background for a detailed discussion of the functionality of DICOM; the innovations and limitations of the Standard; and the impact of various DICOM features on information system users. DICOM addresses five general application areas: (1) network image management, (2) network image interpretation management, (3) network print management, (4) imaging procedure management, (5) off-line storage media management. DICOM is a complete specification of the elements required to achieve a practical level of automatic interoperability between biomedical imaging computer systems—from application layer to bit-stream encoding. The Standard is being extended and expanded in modular fashion to support new applications and incorporate new technology. An interface to other Information Systems provides for shared management of patient, procedure, and results information related to images. A Conformance Statement template enables a knowledgeable user to determine if interoperability between two implementations is possible. Knowledge of DICOM's benefits and realistic understanding of its limitations enable one to use the Standard effectively as the basis for a long term implementation strategy for image management and communications systems.
PMCID: PMC61235  PMID: 9147339
13.  The department of veterans affairs integration of imaging into the healthcare enterprise using the VistA hospital information system and Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine 
Journal of Digital Imaging  1998;11(2):53-64.
The United States Department of Veterans Affairs is integrating imaging into the healthcare enterprise by using the Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM) standard protocols. Image management is directly integrated into the VistA Hospital Information System (HIS) software and clinical database. Radiology images are acquired with DICOM and are stored directly in the HIS database. Images can be displayed on low-cost clinician’s workstations throughout the medical center. High-resolution diagnostic quality multimonitor VistA workstations with specialized viewing software can be used for reading radiology images. Two approaches are used to acquire and handle images within the radiology department. Some sites have a commercial Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) interfaced to the VistA HIS, whereas other sites use the direct image acquisition and integrated diagnostic display capabilities of VistA itself. A small set of DICOM services has been implemented by VistA to allow patient and study text data to be transmitted to image producing modalities and the commercial PACS, and to enable images and study data to be transferred back. DICOM has been the cornerstone in the ability to integrate imaging functionality into the healthcare enterprise. Because of its openness, it allows the integration of system components from commercial and noncommercial sources to work together to provide functional cost-effective solutions.
doi:10.1007/BF03168727
PMCID: PMC3452993  PMID: 9608928
HIS/RIS; DICOM; PACS
14.  Image Retake Analysis in Digital Radiography Using DICOM Header Information 
A methodology to automatically detect potential retakes in digital imaging, using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) header information, is presented. In our hospital, neither the computed radiography workstations nor the picture archiving and communication system itself are designed to support reject analysis. A system called QCOnline, initially developed to help in the management of images and patient doses in a digital radiology department, has been used to identify those images with the same patient identification number, same modality, description, projection, date, cassette orientation, and image comments. The pilot experience lead to 6.6% and 1.9% repetition rates for abdomen and chest images. A thorough analysis has shown that the real repetitions were 3.3% and 0.9% for abdomen and chest images being the main cause of the discrepancy being the wrong image identification. The presented methodology to automatically detect potential retakes in digital imaging using DICOM header information is feasible and allows to detect deficiencies in the department performance like wrong identifications, positioning errors, wrong radiographic technique, bad image processing, equipment malfunctions, artefacts, etc. In addition, retake images automatically collected can be used for continuous training of the staff.
doi:10.1007/s10278-008-9135-y
PMCID: PMC3043704  PMID: 18592314
Diagnostic image quality; Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM); image analysis
15.  Benchmark testing the Digital Imaging Network-Picture Archiving and Communications System proposal of the Department of Defense 
Journal of Digital Imaging  1999;12(2):94-98.
The Department of Defense issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) for its next generation Picture Archiving and Communications System in January of 1997. The RFP was titled Digital Imaging Network—Picture Archiving and Communications System (DIN-PACS). Benchmark testing of the proposed vendors' systems occurred during the summer of 1997. This article highlights the methods for test material and test system organization, the major areas tested, and conduct of actual testing. Department of Defense and contract personnel wrote test procedures for benchmark testing based on the important features of the DIN-PACS Request for Proposal. Identical testing was performed with each vendor's system. The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard images used for the Benchmark Testing included all modalities. The images were verified as being DICOM standard compliant by the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Electronic Radiology Laboratory. The Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory prepared the Unix-based server for the DICOM images and operated it during testing. The server was loaded with the images and shipped to each vendor's facility for on-site testing. The Defense Supply Center, Philadelphia (DSCP), the Department of Defense agency managing the DIN-PACS contract, provided representatives at each vendor site to ensure all tests were performed equitably and without bias. Each vendor's system was evaluated in the following nine major areas: DICOM Compliance; System Storage and Archive of Images; Network Performance; Workstation Performance; Radiology Information System Performance; Composite Health Care System/ Health Level 7 communications standard Interface Performance; Teleradiology Performance; Quality Control; and Failover Functionality. These major sections were subdivided into workable test procedures and were then scored. A combined score for each section was compiled from this data. The names of the involved vendors and the scoring for each is contract sensitive and therefore can not be discussed. All of the vendors that underwent the benchmark testing did well. There was no one vendor that was markedly superior or inferior. There was a typical bell shaped curve of abilities. Each vendor had their own strong points and weaknesses. A standardized benchmark protocol and testing system for PACS architectures would be of great value to all agencies planning to purchase a PACS. This added information would assure the purchased system meets the needed functional requirements as outlined by the purchasers PACS Request for Proposal.
doi:10.1007/BF03168848
PMCID: PMC3452494  PMID: 10342252
PACS; DICOM; benchmark testing; RIS; Health Level 7
16.  The VA's use of DICOM to integrate image data seamlessly into the online patient record. 
The US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is using the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard to integrate image data objects from multiple systems for use across the healthcare enterprise. DICOM uses a structured representation of image data and a communication mechanism that allows the VA to easily acquire radiology images and store them directly into the online patient record. Images can then be displayed on low-cost clinician's workstations throughout the medical center. High-resolution diagnostic quality multi-monitor VistA workstations with specialized viewing software can be used for reading radiology images. Various image and study specific items from the DICOM data object are essential for the correct display of images. The VA's DICOM capabilities are now used to interface seven different commercial Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) and over twenty different radiology image acquisition modalities.
PMCID: PMC2232574  PMID: 10566327
17.  A Framework for Integration of Heterogeneous Medical Imaging Networks 
Medical imaging is increasing its importance in matters of medical diagnosis and in treatment support. Much is due to computers that have revolutionized medical imaging not only in acquisition process but also in the way it is visualized, stored, exchanged and managed. Picture Archiving and Communication Systems (PACS) is an example of how medical imaging takes advantage of computers. To solve problems of interoperability of PACS and medical imaging equipment, the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard was defined and widely implemented in current solutions. More recently, the need to exchange medical data between distinct institutions resulted in Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative that contains a content profile especially conceived for medical imaging exchange: Cross Enterprise Document Sharing for imaging (XDS-i). Moreover, due to application requirements, many solutions developed private networks to support their services. For instance, some applications support enhanced query and retrieve over DICOM objects metadata.
This paper proposes anintegration framework to medical imaging networks that provides protocols interoperability and data federation services. It is an extensible plugin system that supports standard approaches (DICOM and XDS-I), but is also capable of supporting private protocols. The framework is being used in the Dicoogle Open Source PACS.
doi:10.2174/1874431101408010020
PMCID: PMC4181172  PMID: 25279021
Cloud computing; data integration; DICOM; medical imaging; PACS and XDS-I.
18.  Managing DICOM images: Tips and tricks for the radiologist 
All modalities in radiology practice have become digital, and therefore deal with DICOM images. Image files that are compliant with part 10 of the DICOM standard are generally referred to as “DICOM format files” or simply “DICOM files” and are represented as “.dcm.” DICOM differs from other image formats in that it groups information into data sets. A DICOM file consists of a header and image data sets packed into a single file. The information within the header is organized as a constant and standardized series of tags. By extracting data from these tags one can access important information regarding the patient demographics, study parameters, etc. In the interest of patient confidentiality, all information that can be used to identify the patient should be removed before DICOM images are transmitted over a network for educational or other purposes. In addition to the DICOM format, the radiologist routinely encounters images of several file formats such as JPEG, TIFF, GIF, and PNG. Each format has its own unique advantages and disadvantages, which must be taken into consideration when images are archived, used in teaching files, or submitted for publication. Knowledge about these formats and their attributes, such as image resolution, image compression, and image metadata, helps the radiologist in optimizing the archival, organization, and display of images. This article aims to increase the awareness among radiologists regarding DICOM and other image file formats encountered in clinical practice. It also suggests several tips and tricks that can be used by the radiologist so that the digital potential of these images can be fully utilized for maximization of workflow in the radiology practice.
doi:10.4103/0971-3026.95396
PMCID: PMC3354356  PMID: 22623808
Compression; DICOM; image file; management; PowerPoint®; resolution
19.  Streamlining Importation of Outside Prior DICOM Studies into an Imaging System 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2011;25(1):70-77.
A patient has an imaging study performed at one facility and has the study exported to portable media. Later, the patient takes the media to a different institution. The study on that media may need to be imported into that new institution’s imaging system. This would be done to avoid a repeat examination, or so that the study can be on file for reference purposes. Importing prior studies is best performed by creating a new order on the institution’s imaging system and then associating the DICOM objects from the prior study with it. In this way the prior study is actually inserted into the imaging system’s electronic health record (EHR) and is properly indexed so that it can be identified and later retrieved as needed. In the past at the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA), importing prior DICOM studies into the VA systems had been a very slow labor-intensive process that took anywhere from 10 to 30 min to import a single study. We have developed a new DICOM Importer application that reduces the manual effort to import a prior study to less than a minute. We have redesigned and automated the process to make it much more efficient for the user. The Importer also handles contract examinations that are ordered by the VA and performed at outside imaging facilities, with similar time savings. This work is important because is addresses one of the major unsolved problems with import reconciliation workflow: how to efficiently handle the importing of prior studies.
doi:10.1007/s10278-011-9406-x
PMCID: PMC3264724  PMID: 21809172
DICOM studies; Imaging system; Importation; Hospital Information Systems (HIS); Image Acquisition; Digital Image Management; Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM); Integrating Healthcare Enterprise (IHE); Enterprise PACS;  PACS DICOM IHE Conformance;  Workflow reengineering
20.  Development, Implementation, and Multicenter Clinical Validation of the TeleDICOM—Advanced, Interactive Teleconsultation System 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2010;24(3):541-551.
There is a need to make medical diagnosis available to critically ill patients on-site, without the necessity of time-consuming and risky transportation to larger reference hospitals. The teleconsultation of medical images is possible with the use of Internet-based TeleDICOM software developed in Krakow, Poland. Interactive consultation between two or more centers offers real-time voice communication, visualization of synchronized Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine images, and use of interactive pointers and specific calculation tools. If direct interaction between physicians is not needed, the system can also be used in “offline” mode. In 2006, TeleDICOM was successfully deployed in the John Paul II Hospital in Krakow as well as a dozen other cooperating medical centers throughout southeast Poland. It is used for routine referral for cardiosurgical procedures. Aims of the study were to evaluate the image quality, software stability, constant availability, data transmission speed, and quality of real-time synchronized viewing of the images during the TeleDICOM teleconsultation; to evaluate the clinical utility of the TeleDICOM system; and to analyze the compatibility of TeleDICOM with the storage data formats of various imaging machine manufacturers. The analysis of angiographic offline teleconsultations was based on 918 patients referred remotely for coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG). The echocardiographic teleconsultations were performed during 63 live interactive consultations, several of them were presented to live during medical conferences. Measurement tools of the TeleDICOM software were tested against original measurement tools of echocardiographic machines from four different manufacturers. As a result of TeleDICOM consultation, a CABG decision was made in 806 of 918 patients consulted (87.8%). In remaining 12 patients, medical therapy or percutaneous angioplasty was recommended. CABG was performed in 98.6% of the admitted patients. Treatment decisions were changed after admission in 1.4% of patients—however, in all cases, it was not related to analysis of angiography data but rather to the change of clinical condition of the patients. All medical personnel involved in both offline and interactive teleconsultations judged the system positively in all assessed aspects. Lesser scores were observed only in the centers connected by slower networks. Measurements performed in the ECHO-TeleDICOM module were accurate as compared with those performed on a standard echo-machine (correlation r > 0.980, p < 0.001), independently of the echocardiograph model. Conclusion: This study demonstrates that telemedicine can improve patients' management using a clinically effective teleconsultation system. The TeleDICOM system is suited for professional use in the field of cardiovascular disease. It is also prepared for remote live demonstrations of clinical cases during large medical meetings.
doi:10.1007/s10278-010-9303-8
PMCID: PMC3092051  PMID: 20495992
Telemedicine; angiography; cardiac imaging; clinical application; computers in medicine; digital image management; image analysis; ultrasonography
21.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Satellite-Based Networking Implementation 
As part of an NIH-funded study of malaria pathogenesis, a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging research facility was established in Blantyre, Malaŵi to enhance the clinical characterization of pediatric patients with cerebral malaria through application of neurological MR methods. The research program requires daily transmission of MR studies to Michigan State University (MSU) for clinical research interpretation and quantitative post-processing. An intercontinental satellite-based network was implemented for transmission of MR image data in Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format, research data collection, project communications, and remote systems administration. Satellite Internet service costs limited the bandwidth to symmetrical 384 kbit/s. DICOM routers deployed at both the Malaŵi MRI facility and MSU manage the end-to-end encrypted compressed data transmission. Network performance between DICOM routers was measured while transmitting both mixed clinical MR studies and synthetic studies. Effective network latency averaged 715 ms. Within a mix of clinical MR studies, the average transmission time for a 256 × 256 image was ~2.25 and ~6.25 s for a 512 × 512 image. Using synthetic studies of 1,000 duplicate images, the interquartile range for 256 × 256 images was [2.30, 2.36] s and [5.94, 6.05] s for 512 × 512 images. Transmission of clinical MRI studies between the DICOM routers averaged 9.35 images per minute, representing an effective channel utilization of ~137% of the 384-kbit/s satellite service as computed using uncompressed image file sizes (including the effects of image compression, protocol overhead, channel latency, etc.). Power unreliability was the primary cause of interrupted operations in the first year, including an outage exceeding 10 days.
doi:10.1007/s10278-010-9323-4
PMCID: PMC3033988  PMID: 20714916
Magnetic resonance imaging; computer networks; image distribution; wide area network (WAN); brain imaging; satellite-based networks; sub-Saharan Africa; DICOM router
22.  Magnetic Resonance Imaging Research in Sub-Saharan Africa: Challenges and Satellite-Based Networking Implementation 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2010;24(4):729-738.
As part of an NIH-funded study of malaria pathogenesis, a magnetic resonance (MR) imaging research facility was established in Blantyre, Malaŵi to enhance the clinical characterization of pediatric patients with cerebral malaria through application of neurological MR methods. The research program requires daily transmission of MR studies to Michigan State University (MSU) for clinical research interpretation and quantitative post-processing. An intercontinental satellite-based network was implemented for transmission of MR image data in Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) format, research data collection, project communications, and remote systems administration. Satellite Internet service costs limited the bandwidth to symmetrical 384 kbit/s. DICOM routers deployed at both the Malaŵi MRI facility and MSU manage the end-to-end encrypted compressed data transmission. Network performance between DICOM routers was measured while transmitting both mixed clinical MR studies and synthetic studies. Effective network latency averaged 715 ms. Within a mix of clinical MR studies, the average transmission time for a 256 × 256 image was ~2.25 and ~6.25 s for a 512 × 512 image. Using synthetic studies of 1,000 duplicate images, the interquartile range for 256 × 256 images was [2.30, 2.36] s and [5.94, 6.05] s for 512 × 512 images. Transmission of clinical MRI studies between the DICOM routers averaged 9.35 images per minute, representing an effective channel utilization of ~137% of the 384-kbit/s satellite service as computed using uncompressed image file sizes (including the effects of image compression, protocol overhead, channel latency, etc.). Power unreliability was the primary cause of interrupted operations in the first year, including an outage exceeding 10 days.
doi:10.1007/s10278-010-9323-4
PMCID: PMC3033988  PMID: 20714916
Magnetic resonance imaging; computer networks; image distribution; wide area network (WAN); brain imaging; satellite-based networks; sub-Saharan Africa; DICOM router
23.  Image standards in Tissue-Based Diagnosis (Diagnostic Surgical Pathology) 
Diagnostic Pathology  2008;3:17.
Background
Progress in automated image analysis, virtual microscopy, hospital information systems, and interdisciplinary data exchange require image standards to be applied in tissue-based diagnosis.
Aims
To describe the theoretical background, practical experiences and comparable solutions in other medical fields to promote image standards applicable for diagnostic pathology.
Theory and experiences
Images used in tissue-based diagnosis present with pathology – specific characteristics. It seems appropriate to discuss their characteristics and potential standardization in relation to the levels of hierarchy in which they appear. All levels can be divided into legal, medical, and technological properties. Standards applied to the first level include regulations or aims to be fulfilled. In legal properties, they have to regulate features of privacy, image documentation, transmission, and presentation; in medical properties, features of disease – image combination, human – diagnostics, automated information extraction, archive retrieval and access; and in technological properties features of image acquisition, display, formats, transfer speed, safety, and system dynamics. The next lower second level has to implement the prescriptions of the upper one, i.e. describe how they are implemented. Legal aspects should demand secure encryption for privacy of all patient related data, image archives that include all images used for diagnostics for a period of 10 years at minimum, accurate annotations of dates and viewing, and precise hardware and software information. Medical aspects should demand standardized patients' files such as DICOM 3 or HL 7 including history and previous examinations, information of image display hardware and software, of image resolution and fields of view, of relation between sizes of biological objects and image sizes, and of access to archives and retrieval. Technological aspects should deal with image acquisition systems (resolution, colour temperature, focus, brightness, and quality evaluation procedures), display resolution data, implemented image formats, storage, cycle frequency, backup procedures, operation system, and external system accessibility. The lowest third level describes the permitted limits and threshold in detail. At present, an applicable standard including all mentioned features does not exist to our knowledge; some aspects can be taken from radiological standards (PACS, DICOM 3); others require specific solutions or are not covered yet.
Conclusion
The progress in virtual microscopy and application of artificial intelligence (AI) in tissue-based diagnosis demands fast preparation and implementation of an internationally acceptable standard. The described hierarchic order as well as analytic investigation in all potentially necessary aspects and details offers an appropriate tool to specifically determine standardized requirements.
doi:10.1186/1746-1596-3-17
PMCID: PMC2362107  PMID: 18423031
24.  OpenRIMS: An Open Architecture Radiology Informatics Management System  
Journal of Digital Imaging  2002;15(2):91-97.
The benefits of an integrated picture archiving and communication system/radiology information system (PACS/RIS) archive built with open source tools and methods are 2-fold. Open source permits an inexpensive development model where interfaces can be updated as needed, and the code is peer reviewed by many eyes (analogous to the scientific model). Integration of PACS/RIS functionality reduces the risk of inconsistent data by reducing interfaces among databases that contain largely redundant information. Also, wide adoption would promote standard data mining tools—reducing user needs to learn multiple methods to perform the same task. A model has been constructed capable of accepting HL7 orders, performing examination and resource scheduling, providing digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) worklist information to modalities, archiving studies, and supporting DICOM query/retrieve from third party viewing software. The multitiered architecture uses a single database communicating via an ODBC bridge to a Linux server with HL7, DICOM, and HTTP connections. Human interaction is supported via a web browser, whereas automated informatics services communicate over the HL7 and DICOM links. The system is still under development, but the primary database schema is complete as well as key pieces of the web user interface. Additional work is needed on the DICOM/HL7 interface broker and completion of the base DICOM service classes.
doi:10.1007/s10278-002-0010-y
PMCID: PMC3611608  PMID: 12297975
25.  Upgrading legacy systems for the integrating the healthcare enterprise (IHE) initiatative 
Journal of Digital Imaging  2000;13(Suppl 1):180-182.
As technology vendors have adopted standardized communication protocols, including Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) and Health Level 7 (HL7), interconnectivity between various devices has been simplified. The recent Integrating the Healthcare Enterprise (IHE) initiative will further promote the use of standards for interconnectivity. Until these standards are universally accepted, we must live in a transitional world where some components will communicate without any modification, while others require upgrades to allow them to meet the new standards. In designing and implementing the network at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) Medical Center, some integration problems were found that are common to the industry. Creating departmental workflow with only a limited number of acquisition devices supporting the DICOM worklist was the initial problem addressed. Although many manufacturers provide this function for their new scanners, upgrading existing equipment is often cost-prohibitive. To ensure the quality of the demographic information in the image data and the workflow of the system, third-party worklist components were required to upgrade the legacy acquisition devices. These worklist components provided a standards-compliant facade on top of the legacy equipment, allowing seamless integration with the remainder of the network. To support the distribution of worklist information and the feedback of procedure status, a bidirectional HL7/ DICOM protocol bridge was required. Although many radiology information system (RIS) manufacturers will be providing native DICOM capabilities in future product releases, the majority of current RIS installations have no DICOM functionality. Similar to the legacy scanners, the HL7/DICOM bridge provided a DICOM-compliant facade to the non-DICOM RIS. The additional use of web-based technology for worklist display further extended flexibility of this facade. We have demonstrated standards-compliant facade technology allowing legacy components to operate seamlessly in an IHE environment at a fraction of the cost of upgrading to new equipment.
doi:10.1007/BF03167655
PMCID: PMC3453251  PMID: 10847393

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