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Eur J Radiol. 1993 Jun;17(1):28-37.

European standardization efforts: an important framework for medical imaging.

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Technical Committee on Medical Informatics of the European Standardisation Committee (CEN TC 251/4), Brussels, Belgium.


For several years now, users have been waiting for standards allowing medical images to be exchanged, managed, stored and manipulated. Standards are prerequisites for the development of PACS and IMACS systems. It is because of the lack of standards that PACS have not yet widely been implemented. The ACR-NEMA committee (American College of Radiology--National Electronical Manufactures Association) are developing an image communication standard: DICOM 3.0. This should allow interconnection of different imaging modalities and other PACS nodes. Part of the DICOM 3.0 work will be demonstrated at RSNA 93 with involvement of Europe. In the European Standardization Committee (CEN), the technical committee responsible for the standardization activities in Medical Informatics (CEN TC 251), has agreed upon the directions and the scopes to be followed in this field. They are described in the directory of the European standardization requirements for health care informatics and programme for the development of standard adopted on 28 February 1991 by CEN TC 251. Top-down objectives describe the common framework and items like terminology, security, while the more bottom-up oriented items describe fields like medical imaging and multi-media. Since CEN TC 251 started working, an important coordination took place between Europe and the US and Japan, resulting in a common future approach. CEN TC 251 is setting the scene for a more technologically independent standard on a mid term basis. This standard will first have to be proto-typed before it can be published, because it must be possible to implement the standard, too much complexity will not be accepted by the industry. The European imaging standardization work based on the ISO/IPI standard, will be briefly explained; as well as the general framework model and object oriented model; the interworking aspects, and the relation to ISO standards. One should realize be realised that a standard is needed, which is not too ambitious. Because DICOM 3.0 will be ready soon, Europe has decided to support these activities and will concentrate on the next step to be taken.

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