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Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is a standard for the transmission and storing of medical images. The National Electrical Manufacturers Association holds the copyright to the standard. The standard allows the integration of medical imaging equipment with other devices.
DICOM allows physicians to store, exchange and transmit medical images from devices such as scanners to printers and computers. Some of the types of imaging that can be transmitted include:
It is a standardized file format that includes a patient’s name, type of scan and image dimensions in a header.
The standard dates to 1985, when the first version, ACR/NEMA 300 was released, with additional versions appearing in 1988 and 1993. The standard has been continuously updated to keep up with advances in both technology and the medical field.
With DICOM, a doctor could easily share an MRI scan of a patient’s brain with a specialist for consultation in a different city. DICOM only specifies standards for interoperability with different devices instead of defining a workflow for images.
DICOM is widely used in hospitals as well as some smaller private practices, including dental offices.