Standardization of teleradiology using Dicom e-mail: recommendations of the German Radiology Society

Eur Radiol. 2006 Mar;16(3):753-8. doi: 10.1007/s00330-005-0019-y. Epub 2005 Oct 15.


Until recently there has been no standard for an interoperable and manufacturer-independent protocol for secure teleradiology connections. This was one of the main reasons for the limited use of teleradiology in Germany. Various teleradiology solutions have been developed in the past, but the vast majority have not been interoperable. Therefore an ad hoc teleradiology connection was impossible even between partners who were already equipped with teleradiology workstations. Based on the evaluation of vendor-independent protocols in recent years the IT Working Group (AGIT) of the German Radiology Society set up an initiative to standardize basic teleradiology. An e-mail based solution using the Dicom standard for e-mail attachments with additional encryption according to the OpenPGP standard was found to be the common denominator. This protocol is easy to implement and safe for personalized patient data and fulfills the legal requirements for teleradiology in Germany and other countries. The first version of the recommendation was presented at the 85th German Radiology Convention in 2004. Eight commercial and three open-source implementations of the protocol are currently available; the protocol is in daily use in over 50 hospitals and institutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Computer Communication Networks / standards*
  • Computer Security / standards
  • Electronic Mail / standards
  • Germany
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Humans
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards
  • Internet
  • Reference Standards
  • Societies
  • Teleradiology / standards*