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.
Therefore, DICOM ensures that all the medical equipment installed in clinics, medical imaging centers, and hospitals will work together and distribute the digital medical images correctly, across countries, modalities, and clinics.
What is PACS?
PACS (Picture Archiving and Communication System) is normally composed of four basic elements:
Medical imaging equipment such as MRI, CT, X-ray systems, ultrasound machines, and more.
A secure network for the exchange and distribution of the patient examination data.
DICOM workstations or mobile devices for viewing, re-processing, and interpreting images.
It also archives and printers for storage and retrieval of images and related documentation and reports.
Furthermore, PACS is a kind of integration of all the above resources in a healthcare organization to capture, store, view, and share all the medical images internally or externally.
And this makes it possible for remote diagnostic and interpretation of the images if they do not have the ressources internally or if the patient moves.
What is a Workstation?
A workstation works as an option for most medical imaging equipment, and its functions are as follows:
It is independent of the main modality console hereby allowing the patients to keep flowing in for examinations.
Re-processing of the DICOM RAW DATA acquired from different modalities, by accessing the advanced processing functions or options.
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 workstation for any modality 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 pieces of 5mp monitors to ensure that the image quality is good enough for accurate diagnosis.
Images from all modalities are available on the DICOM server, and from here they can be printed or evaluated in a Diagnostic viewer/workstation. You can also send them through the internet to storage, or diagnostic viewers at other facilities, or access and see them online.
We hope this fully answered your question: What is DICOM, PACS, and Workstations?
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