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Proceedings Paper

Extending DICOM imaging to new clinical specialties in the healthcare enterprise
Author(s): Peter M. Kuzmak; Ruth E. Dayhoff
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Paper Abstract

DICOM is a success for radiology and cardiology and it is now starting to be used for the other clinical specialties. The US Department of Veterans Affairs has been instrumental in promoting this advancement. We have worked with a number of non-radiology clinical speciality imaging vendors over the past two years, encouraging them to support DICOM, providing requirement specifications. Validating their implementations, using their products, and integrating their systems with the VA healthcare enterprise. We require each new clinical speciality vendor to support the DICOM Modality Worklist and Storage services and insist that they perform validation testing with us over the Internet. Two years ago we began working with two commercial DICOM image acquisition applications in ophthalmology and endoscopy. We are now dealing with over a dozen: five in ophthalmology, two in endoscopy, and six in dental. This has been a very productive endeavor. Because mature software development toolkits now exist, the vendors can quickly integrate DICOM with their existing imaging products. Each of the dental vendors, for example, was able to accomplish this task in less than three months. Getting the imaging modality vendors to support DICOM is only part of the story, however. We are also working on getting the VistA hospital information system to properly handle DICOM interfaces to various clinical specialties. This has been more difficult than expected because the workflow in clinical specialties is much more varied than that in radiology. This required us to develop software that is much more flexible than that used for radiology. Fortunately, the standard DICOM Modality Worklist and Storage services can be used without change. In addition to a more variable workflow, the use of structured reporting is much more advanced in clinical specialties than in radiology, and significant work is needed to define templates and communicate this data using DICOM. Since some speciality modules of our hospital information system currently store only report text, we also have to figure out how to store and display the discrete structured report data. The work involved in extending DICOM to the clinical specialties, and in integrating them with the hospital information system is an ongoing and worthwhile challenge. Our goal is to incorporate al of the patient's data into the electronic record, and DICOM is making this easier for everyone. Considerable investment, however, has to be made in the hospital information system software to accrue the full benefit.

Paper Details

Date Published: 16 May 2002
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 4685, Medical Imaging 2002: PACS and Integrated Medical Information Systems: Design and Evaluation, (16 May 2002); doi: 10.1117/12.467012
Show Author Affiliations
Peter M. Kuzmak, Dept. of Veterans Affairs (United States)
Ruth E. Dayhoff, Dept. of Veterans Affairs (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 4685:
Medical Imaging 2002: PACS and Integrated Medical Information Systems: Design and Evaluation
Eliot L. Siegel; H. K. Huang, Editor(s)

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