The Specimen Module (see PS3.3) defines formal DICOM attributes for the identification and description of laboratory specimens when said specimens are the subject of a DICOM image. The Module is focused on the specimen and laboratory attributes necessary to understand and interpret the image. These include:
Attributes that identify (specify) the specimen (within a given institution and across institutions).
Attributes that identify and describe the container in which the specimen resides. Containers are intimately associated with specimens in laboratory processes, often “carry” a specimen’s identity, and sometimes are intimately part of the imaging process, as when a glass slide and cover slip are in the optical path in microscope imaging.
Attributes that describe specimen collection, sampling and processing. Knowing how a specimen was collected, sampled, processed and stained is vital in interpreting an image of a specimen. One can make a strong case that those laboratory steps are part of the imaging proceNN.
Attributes that describe the specimen or its ancestors (see Section NN.2.1, above) when these descriptions help with the interpretation of the image.
Attributes that convey diagnostic opinions or interpretations are not within the scope of the Specimen Module. The DICOM Specimen Module does not seek to replace or mirror the pathologist’s report.