For decades, the DICOM standard has been the standard for medical imaging.

Since digital images started to enter medicine in the 1970s there was a great need to have a standard for sharing images between different systems and vendors.

The main demand for this new standard was to create an open (vendor independent) platform for the communication of medical images and related data. The new standard also had to support PACS networks and guarantee interoperability of various devices and programs. The resulting standard came to be known as Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine or DICOM for short and was published in 1993.

The DICOM standard is not just an exchange format for medical image data, DICOM also defines:

  • data structures (formats) for medical images and related data,
  • network oriented services, e. g.
    • image transmission,
    • query of an image archive (PACS),
    • print (hardcopy), and
    • RIS – PACS – modality integration
  • formats for storage media exchange, and
  • requirements for conforming devices and programs.

A DICOM image consists of a list of data elements (so-called attributes) which contain a multitude of image related information:

  • patient information (name, gender, identification number),
  • modality and imaging procedure information (device parameters, calibration, radiation dose, contrast media), and
  • image information (resolution, windowing).

For each modality, DICOM precisely defines the data elements that are required, optional (i. e. may be omitted) or required under certain circumstances (i. e. only if contrast media was used).

This great image standard has become an indispensable component for the integration of digital imaging systems in medicine. But taking, uploading and properly storing images can be a chore that takes up a lot of precious time. The Atencio iPAX DICOM Camera Solution offers clinicians a very easy and quick to use way to take images or video and upload them to PACS.

In this day and age when people are documenting and publishing images of everything from their vacation to their breakfasts, it is about time that we start properly documenting the healing progress of wounds and skin issues properly in pictures and video. This can assist the clinician in tracking progress or the lack thereof or it can aid insurance companies or health insurance agencies to investigate the quality of care.

All this needs to be done in such a way that the pictures are managed in a safe and secure manner that safeguards the privacy of the patient.