NEMA releases 2004 revision of DICOM

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NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Association, this week released a 16-part update of the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard.
"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."
The DICOM standard includes the following parts:
  • PS 3.1: DICOM Part 1, Introduction and Overview ($47)
  • PS 3.2: DICOM Part 2, Conformance ($169)
  • PS 3.3: DICOM Part 3, Information Object Definitions ($255)
  • PS 3.4: DICOM Part 4, Service Class Specifications ($174)
  • PS 3.5: DICOM Part 5, Data Structures and Encoding ($103)
  • PS 3.6: DICOM Part 6, Data Dictionary ($96)
  • PS 3.7: DICOM Part 7, Message Exchange ($110)
  • PS 3.8: DICOM Part 8, Network Communication Support for Message Exchange ($72)
  • PS 3.10: DICOM Part 10, Media Storage and File Format for Media Interchange ($59)
  • PS 3.11: DICOM Part 11, Media Storage Application Profiles ($85)
  • PS 3.12: DICOM Part 12, Media Formats and Physical Media for Media Interchange ($72)
  • PS 3.14: DICOM Part 14, Grayscale Standard Display Function ($72)
  • PS 3.15: DICOM Part 15, Security and System Management Profiles ($85)
  • PS 3.16: DICOM Part 16, Content Mapping Resource ($226)
  • PS 3.17: DICOM Part 17, Explanatory Information ($154)
  • PS 3.18: DICOM Part 18, Web Access to DICOM Persistent Objects (WADO)
Part 17 and Part 18 are new. Part 17 contains additional information in the form of one normative annex and 20 informative annexes. Explanation of patient orientation, waveforms, mammography CAD, chest CAD, ultrasound templates, echocardiography procedure reports, and ophthalmology use cases are but a few of the annexes. Part 18, Web Access to DICOM Persistent Objects (WADO), specifies a web-based service for accessing and presenting DICOM persistent objects such as images and medical reports. This is intended for distribution of results and images to healthcare professionals. It provides a simple mechanism for accessing a DICOM persistent object. Data may be retrieved either in a presentation-ready form as specified by the requester or in a native DICOM format. This new standard will allow a physician to use the web browser on his office or home PC to obtain and review any medical image (that he is authorized to view) that is stored in the computer system of a hospital, clinic, or imaging center anywhere in the world. Until now, the physician would have had to use a special DICOM viewer that is not found on a standard-issue home or office computer.
Parts 9 and 13, no longer necessary, have been discontinued.
Documents may be purchased separately, or the entire set may be purchased for $875 by visiting, 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