So, what is DICOM, PACS, and Workstation? – We will take it one at a time.
What is DICOM?
First of all, what is DICOM?
DICOM (Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine) is an international standard protocol for all medical data exchanges. It also defines the file format, which is mostly either a DCM or DCM30 (DCM3.0) file extension.
DICOM has been implemented in almost every medical imaging modality such as MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, Camera etc. Therefore, DICOM ensures that all the medical equipment installed in clinics, medical imaging centers, and hospitals will work together and distribute the medical images correctly.
What is PACS?
PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) normally composes of four basic elements:
1) Medical imaging equipment like MRI, CT, X-ray, Ultrasound, and more.
2) A secure network for exchange and distribution of patient examination data.
3) DICOM workstations or mobile devices for viewing, re-processing, and interpreting images.
4) It also archives and printers for storage and retrieval of images and related documentation and reports.
Furthermore, PACS is a kind of the integration of all above resources in a healthcare organization to capture, store, view, and share the medical images internally or externally. And this makes it possible for remote diagnostic and interpretation of the images.
What is a Workstation?
A workstation works as an option for most medical imaging equipment, and it functions as follows:
1) It is independent of the main modality console hereby allowing the patients to keep flowing in for examinations.
2) Re-processing of the DICOM RAW DATA acquired from different modalities, by accessing the advanced processing functions or options.
3) Finally, it allows remote diagnostic and intensive interpretation of acquired images.
The modalities where workstations are often used are CT and mammography scanners. There might be more than one workstations for any modalities with large volumes of patients, such as CT.
Each OEM uses one or several types of workstations according to the modality. For instance: GE uses ADW, Philips uses Brilliance or Eleva, Siemens uses Leonardo or Terracon, and Toshiba uses Vitrea. Mammography requires a dedicated workstation with two pcs 5MP monitors for accurate diagnosis.
Images from all modalities are available on the DICOM server, and from here they can be printed or evaluated in Diagnostic viewer/workstation. You can also send them through the internet to storage, or diagnostic viewers at other facilities, and see them online.
We hope this fully answered your question: What is DICOM, PACS, and Workstation?
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