The DICOM Standard facilitates interoperability of devices claiming conformance. In particular, it:
Addresses the semantics of Commands and associated data. For devices to interact, there must be standards on how devices are expected to react to Commands and associated data, not just the information which is to be moved between devices;
Addresses the semantics of file services, file formats and information directories necessary for off-line communication;
— Is explicit in defining the conformance requirements of implementations of the Standard. In particular, a conformance statement must specify enough information to determine the functions for which interoperability can be expected with another device claiming conformance.
— Facilitates operation in a networked environment.
— Is structured to accommodate the introduction of new services, thus facilitating support for future medical imaging applications.
— Makes use of existing international standards wherever applicable, and itself conforms to established documentation guidelines for international standards.
Even though the DICOM Standard has the potential to facilitate implementations of PACS solutions, use of the Standard alone does not guarantee that all the goals of a PACS will be met. This Standard facilitates interoperability of systems claiming conformance in a multi-vendor environment, but does not, by itself, guarantee interoperability.
This Standard has been developed with an emphasis on diagnostic medical imaging as practiced in radiology, cardiology and related disciplines; however, it is also applicable to a wide range of image and non-image related information exchanged in clinical and other medical environments.
Figure 5-1 presents the general communication model of the Standard which spans both network (on-line) and media storage interchange (off-line) communication. Applications may relay on either on of the following boundaries:
the Upper Layer Service, which provides independence from specific physical networking communication support and protocols such as TCP/IP.
The Basic DICOM File Service, which provides access to Storage Media independently from specific media storage formats and file structures.
Figure 5-1 General Communication Model