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Metadata and DICOM for Medical Photography

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Photography in Clinical Medicine


The importance of metadata for medical photography may not be initially apparent. However, metadata are essential to ensure medical images are properly managed and interpreted. Metadata are text-based elements that describe a medical photograph, or clinical information—such as anatomy—associated with a clinical image.

The aims of this chapter are to provide an overview of the purpose of metadata and to discuss different methods for encoding and storing metadata that can be used in medical photography. Much of the discussion in this chapter will focus on the digital imaging and communications in medicine (DICOM) standard. DICOM is a wide-ranging standard that covers many facets of medical imaging including a metadata model, file format, and transmission protocol. Furthermore, DICOM has defined workflow services that increase the accuracy, efficiency, and scalability of medical image acquisition. DICOM is used almost exclusively by some medical image producing specialties such as radiology and cardiology. More recently, the drive toward an enterprise imaging strategy coupled with the success of DICOM in some medical specialties is causing many healthcare providers to examine DICOM as an enterprise-wide imaging standard for all specialties that acquire digital images.

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Disclaimer: Companies and products mentioned in this chapter should not be taken as an endorsement. Liam Caffery is not affiliated in any way with any of the companies mentioned in this chapter and he does not receive any financial gain from any of these companies.

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Caffery, L. (2020). Metadata and DICOM for Medical Photography. In: Pasquali, P. (eds) Photography in Clinical Medicine. Springer, Cham.

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