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What is DICOM?

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is the standard for the communication and management of medical imaging information and related data. DICOM is most commonly used for storing and transmitting medical images enabling the integration of medical imaging devices such as scanners, servers, workstations, printers, network hardware, and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) from multiple manufacturers. It has been widely adopted by hospitals and is making inroads into smaller applications such as dentists’ and doctors’ offices.

DICOM files can be exchanged between two entities that are capable of receiving image and patient data in DICOM format. The different devices come with DICOM Conformance Statements which state which DICOM classes they support. The standard includes a file format definition and a network communications protocol that uses TCP/IP to communicate between systems.

The National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) holds the copyright to the published standard which was developed by the DICOM Standards Committee, whose members[3] are also partly members of NEMA.[4] It is also known as NEMA standard PS3, and as ISO standard 12052:2017 “Health informatics – Digital imaging and communication in medicine (DICOM) including workflow and data management”.