DICOM, DCM, DIC, ACR (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine)

Most modern ultrasound devices, X-ray photography systems and computer tomographs use DICOM image format (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine image) for storing images.

DICOM is a universal data format which allows storing series of images as well as much additional information about these images.

DICOM format has an inbuilt interface for receiving and sending these files over a global computer network. This allows to get advice of practitioners located far from place of examination.

DICOM standard is supported by most devices which allows data exchange regardless of equipment or examination type. DICOM version 3.0 is a unified format for storage and transmission of medical images.

Usually, DICOM file format is supported by special software shipped together with corresponding medical equipment.

Online Image Converter supports most variations of this format starting with first DICOM images produced in 80s of XX century and including latest images of DICOM 3.0 format. Use Online Image Converter, to store your image collections in DICOM format or convert them to any output format available in Online Image Converter.

The ACR-NEMA standard was created to provide a standard way of shipping medical images between different manufacturers equipment. It covers CT, MR, ultrasound, PET images, etc. Currently it supports sequences of 2D images, but not 3D images.

The standard specifies everything from the connector to be used, to the communications protocol, to the contents of data fields in the images. You can, of course, read the data without worrying about the hardware or network protocols, if you get someone to ship you an image on tape, disk, etc.

Most of the data (in terms of number of fields, not number of bits) has to do with how the image was acquired, who the patient is, relationship between images, etc). The image data per se is relatively primitive (bit map, no compression). The intent was to make it simple and standard, rather than technically sophisticated.

The standard is ACR-NEMA Standards Publication No 300-1988. Note the “1988”. This is the second version of the standard (published in 1989, of course 🙂