European Radiology

, Volume 20, Issue 8, pp 1896–1904

An open source toolkit for medical imaging de-identification

  • David Rodríguez González
  • Trevor Carpenter
  • Jano I. van Hemert
  • Joanna Wardlaw
Computer Applications

DOI: 10.1007/s00330-010-1745-3

Cite this article as:
Rodríguez González, D., Carpenter, T., van Hemert, J.I. et al. Eur Radiol (2010) 20: 1896. doi:10.1007/s00330-010-1745-3

Abstract

Objective

Medical imaging acquired for clinical purposes can have several legitimate secondary uses in research projects and teaching libraries. No commonly accepted solution for anonymising these images exists because the amount of personal data that should be preserved varies case by case. Our objective is to provide a flexible mechanism for anonymising Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) data that meets the requirements for deployment in multicentre trials.

Methods

We reviewed our current de-identification practices and defined the relevant use cases to extract the requirements for the de-identification process. We then used these requirements in the design and implementation of the toolkit. Finally, we tested the toolkit taking as a reference those requirements, including a multicentre deployment.

Results

The toolkit successfully anonymised DICOM data from various sources. Furthermore, it was shown that it could forward anonymous data to remote destinations, remove burned-in annotations, and add tracking information to the header. The toolkit also implements the DICOM standard confidentiality mechanism.

Conclusion

A DICOM de-identification toolkit that facilitates the enforcement of privacy policies was developed. It is highly extensible, provides the necessary flexibility to account for different de-identification requirements and has a low adoption barrier for new users.

Keywords

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)Privacy policiesData Protection Act (DPA)De-identificationAnonymisationToolkitPseudonymisation

Copyright information

© European Society of Radiology 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • David Rodríguez González
    • 1
    • 2
  • Trevor Carpenter
    • 2
  • Jano I. van Hemert
    • 1
  • Joanna Wardlaw
    • 2
  1. 1.National e-Science Centre, School of InformaticsUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK
  2. 2.SFC Brain Imaging Research Centre, Division of Clinical NeuroscienceUniversity of EdinburghEdinburghUK