Digital pathology: DICOM-conform draft, testbed, and first results

Comput Methods Programs Biomed. 2007 Sep;87(3):181-8. doi: 10.1016/j.cmpb.2007.05.010. Epub 2007 Jul 5.


Hospital information systems are state of the art nowadays. Therefore, Digital Pathology, also labelled as Virtual Microscopy, has gained increased attention. Triggered by radiology, standardized information models and workflows were world-wide defined based on DICOM. However, DICOM-conform integration of Digital Pathology into existing clinical information systems imposes new problems requiring specific solutions concerning the huge amount of data as well as the special structure of the data to be managed, transferred, and stored. We implemented a testbed to realize and evaluate the workflow of digitized slides from acquisition to archiving. The experiences led to the draft of a DICOM-conform information model that accounted for extensions, definitions, and technical requirements necessary to integrate digital pathology in a hospital-wide DICOM environment. Slides were digitized, compressed, and could be viewed remotely. Real-time transfer of the huge amount of data was optimized using streaming techniques. Compared to a recent discussion in the DICOM Working Group for Digital Pathology (WG26) our experiences led to a preference of a JPEG2000/JPIP-based streaming of the whole slide image. The results showed that digital pathology is feasible but strong efforts by users and vendors are still necessary to integrate Digital Pathology into existing information systems.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Validation Study

MeSH terms

  • Germany
  • Information Storage and Retrieval / standards*
  • Microscopy / standards*
  • Pathology / standards*
  • Pilot Projects
  • Radiology Information Systems / standards*
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted*
  • Software / standards*
  • Software Validation