DICOM — Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine — is the international standard for medical images and related information (ISO 12052). It defines the formats for medical images that can be exchanged with the data and quality necessary for clinical use. DICOM is implemented in almost every radiology, cardiology imaging, and radiotherapy device (X-ray, CT, MRI, ultrasound, etc.), and increasingly in devices in other medical domains such as ophthalmology and dentistry. With tens of thousands of imaging devices in use, DICOM is one of the most widely deployed healthcare messaging standards in the world. There are literally billions of DICOM images currently in use for clinical care. Since its first publication in 1993, DICOM has revolutionized the practice of radiology, allowing the replacement of X-ray film with a fully digital workflow. Much as the Internet has become the platform for new consumer information applications, DICOM has enabled advanced medical imaging applications that have “changed the face of clinical medicine”. From the emergency department, to cardiac stress testing, to breast cancer detection, DICOM is the standard that makes medical imaging work — for doctors and for patients.
For more information see the DICOM homepage: http://dicom.nema.org