Teledermatology PACS



Digital Image Communication in Medicine (DICOM) is a global information technology standard that facilitates the transfer of medical images from one biomedical device to another. DICOM has significantly contributed to the success of teleradiology and picture archiving and communication systems (PACS). PACS is a computer system – both the hardware and software – used for the acquisition, storage, and distribution of biomedical images.


Service Class DICOM Image National Electrical Manufacturer Association National Electrical Manufacturer Association DICOM Standard 
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Glossary of Terms

Clinical Document Architecture (CDA)

CDA refers to the HL7-based exchange of clinical documents (e.g. discharge summary or a diagnostic report) between information system. The clinical document is encoded as an XML documents.

DICOM Message Service Element (DIMSE)

DIMSE is a DICOM message or a command used by communication devices to invoke an action – for example, the DIMSE C-STORE is issued by one device to invoke the storage of a DICOM object on a remote device.

Digital Image Communication in Medicine (DICOM)

DICOM is a global information technology standard. DICOM was developed conjointly by the American College of Radiologists (ACR) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA). The aim of DICOM is to facilitate the network transfer of medical images from one device to another regardless of device’s manufacturer.

Greyscale Display Function (GSDF)

DICOM defined method that facilitates the consistent display of images regardless of which monitor they are viewed on. GSDF relies on monitors being calibrated to characteristic curve.

Health Level 7 (HL7)

Global standard used for the network transfer of health information from one information system to another. HL7 is predominantly concerned with the transfer of text based information.

Hypertext Transmission Protocol (HTTP)

Hypertext Transfer Protocol governs the transfers of web ­pages from server to client (web browser).

Hypertext Transmission Protocol Secure (HTTPS)

The encrypted transfer of web pages from server to client using a secure socket layer (SSL) or similar encryption technique.

Information Object Definition (IOD)

A DICOM definition that list the metadata required in the header of a DICOM file – for example, the Visible Light IOD will list all the metadata elements in the header of a Visible Light image.

Internet Message Access Protocol (IMAP)

IMAP is a protocol that governs how a email client accesses emails stored on a server. The IMAP protocol is used when the client wants to access email stored on a server without downloading or deleting the email from the server.


A standard digital image file format named after named after the Joint Photographic Experts Group who created the standard. A JPEG image results from a compression algorithm being applied to the pixel data of an image.

Multi-part Internet Mail Extension (MIME)

MIME is a standard that defines structure and encoding in the body of an email. The MIME standards were developed to allow email to:

Be formatted in ways other than plain text – for example, HTML;

Be written in non-English character sets; and

Contain attached files.

Post Office Protocol (POP)

A protocol used by email software to retrieve email from a remote mail server and download it onto the user’s local computer.

Public Key Infrastructure (PKI)

PKI is a data encryption technique that uses public/private keys to encrypt/decrypt electronic information. PKI relies on a trusted third party or certification authority to issue public/private keys and verify their use. PKI can be used by email application to secure email communication.

Secondary Capture Object

A generic DICOM defined object used for the DICOM encapsulation of images originally acquired in a non-DICOM format. The Secondary Capture IOD contains no modality or specialty specific metadata elements.

Service Object Pair (SOP) Class

A combination of a DICOM service (action) and the DICOM object. In the SOP Class Secondary Capture Image Storage – the Secondary Capture is the object and the storage is the service.

Simple Mail Transfer Protocol (SMTP)

SMTP is a protocol that governs the transfer of emails from email server to email server.

Unique Identifier (UID)

A globally unique numbering system overseen by the ISO.

Virtual Private Network (VPN)

VPN is a security mechanism used to encrypt the data transfer between two devices that communicate over a public network – for example, the Internet.

Visible Light Object

A DICOM categorization for images acquired with a digital camera.

Web Access to DICOM Persistent Objects (WADO)

Part of the DICOM base standard that defines mechanisms allowing the display of DICOM objects by a web-browser.


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Further Reading

  1. The DICOM standard can be downloaded in PDF format from the DICOM home page All base parts and supplements are in a separate document. Accessed June 2010
  2. Oleg Pianykh has written a comprehensive text book on DICOM. Pianykh, Oleg S (2008) Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) – a practical introduction and survival guide. SpringerGoogle Scholar
  3. The UK’s National Health Service has produced a ‘Beginner Guide to PACS’. It is available for download from Centre for Evidence-based purchasing web site. Accessed June 2010

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre for Online Health, Level 3, Foundation Building, Royal Children’s HospitalThe University of QueenslandHerstonAustralia

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