Date: 09 Aug 2012

DICOM relay over the cloud

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Abstract

Purpose

Healthcare institutions worldwide have adopted picture archiving and communication system (PACS) for enterprise access to images, relying on Digital Imaging Communication in Medicine (DICOM) standards for data exchange. However, communication over a wider domain of independent medical institutions is not well standardized. A DICOM-compliant bridge was developed for extending and sharing DICOM services across healthcare institutions without requiring complex network setups or dedicated communication channels.

Methods

A set of DICOM routers interconnected through a public cloud infrastructure was implemented to support medical image exchange among institutions. Despite the advantages of cloud computing, new challenges were encountered regarding data privacy, particularly when medical data are transmitted over different domains. To address this issue, a solution was introduced by creating a ciphered data channel between the entities sharing DICOM services.

Results

Two main DICOM services were implemented in the bridge: Storage and Query/Retrieve. The performance measures demonstrated it is quite simple to exchange information and processes between several institutions. The solution can be integrated with any currently installed PACS-DICOM infrastructure. This method works transparently with well-known cloud service providers.

Conclusions

Cloud computing was introduced to augment enterprise PACS by providing standard medical imaging services across different institutions, offering communication privacy and enabling creation of wider PACS scenarios with suitable technical solutions.