Though a close association with developers over the last 20 years, Medical Connections staff have developed huge amount of expertise in the field of DICOM interoperability. This is available on a commercial basis, in the following main areas:
Whilst PACS is now fairly well-established as an off-the-shelf product, there is an increasing need to look beyond the radiology images, and to provide images and associated reports to other authorised users, both within the original institution and beyond, including primary care, remote reporting systems, other hospitals. This also includes integration with wider electronic healthcare record systems.
Medical Connections Ltd has extensive experience in advising on the provision of such systems, using both native DICOM and the newer IHE “Cross-Enterprise Document Sharing for Imaging” (XDS-I) profile. This includes management of the demonstrations of this profile at UK healthcare conferences.
Although DicomObjects and XdsObjects have been used by hundreds of developers around the world, the greatest source of expertise and knowledge about it is undoubtedly found at the source, here at Medical Connections. Whilst we have a strict policy of not selling finished products to end-users (we do not wish to compete with our own developer customers!), we do have sufficient spare capacity to write applications for those who wish to sell them on to others, but who may not have the time, experience or resources to write their own applications from scratch. Such applications are always provided as source code, using DicomObjects and/or XdsObjects, allowing you to modify and enhance as you wish.
Here is a small selection of custom development works that we have done recently:
- Full Vendor-Neutral DICOM Archive/PACS
- Supporting DICOM C-STORE, C-ECHO, C-FIND, C-GET, C-MOVE, MPPS and Storage Commitment
- Intelligent DICOM Router
- Supporting all common DICOM services
- DICOM Modality Worklist Server
- Including dynamic changes to the list of DICOM Elements supported
- DICOM Modality Worklist Merger
- Merges the responses from multiple RIS to avoid reconfiguration of the modality
- DICOM Modality Worklist Cient on a Medical Device
- Performs DICOM Modality Worklist queries before image acquisition on device
- DICOM PACS Health Monitor
- Routinely Sends out DICOM C-ECHO/C-FIND to PACs to check its status
- DICOM Print Server
- A DICOM printer server that handles both grayscale and colour printing requests
- A full XDS Document Registry
- Including standard Provide and Register as well as on-demand document. Supports all Registry Stored Queries
- XDS Document Source/Consumer
- Including XDS-I Imaging Document Source, WADO Server with full Audit Support (upcoming)
All the above were of course customised to the customer’s requirements, often using additional elements for which we have extensive in-house skills, such as:
- DICOM => XML Conversion
- IPv4/IPv6 and TLS
- ADO.NET and LINQ
- Database integration
- E-mail alerts
- Web Interfaces for users or administration
Alternatively, we are happy to publicise the offers to do such work by others, who may be closer or have more appropriate language than us. If you would like to offer your services for performing similar work, then please get in touch
Whilst DICOM is a well-established standard, which has now been in place for 18 years, it is a sad fact of life that many (some would say most) vendors have significant errors in their implementations. Fortunately, most DICOM applications are quite tolerant of such problems, but every now and then they can cause major problems, sometimes years after initial installation (e.g. when the customer install’s a new system to which the older system has to connect). This can cause major difficulties for both vendors and customers, so it would be in everyone’s interests for such anomalies to be identified before installation rather than after.
The staff at Medical Connections have many years experience of identifying such problems, not only through experience of users of the DicomObjects toolkit, but they have also worked as independent monitors at IHE European connectathons and contributed to other testing programmes such as the American Veterinary “DICOM Showdown”.
Three main type of testing are offered:
- Checking of DICOM “objects” (such as images, structured reports etc.) to confirm whether they conform to the rules for the chosen SOP class.
- Checking of network transactions to see if all mandatory fields are offered and supported. This is particularly useful for query/retrieve and modality worklist applications and servers.
- More extensive testing, testing the tolerance of applications to minimalist data received from other sources.
Investigation of problems
As noted above, many commercial vendors have significant errors in their DICOM implementations, and whilst most of these do not cause significant problems, some do, often years after initial installation. This can often cause disagreements between vendors, with each blaming the other for the problem, often saying things like “our PACS equipment has been here for years without problems, so it must be your new equipment which is at fault” - sadly it is normally the older equipment which is at fault, but in these cases a “neutral” expert is required to arbitrate between the vendors.
Medical Connections’ staff have the expertise to help in these situations, including the following services:
- Analysis of logs and files
- Passive “sniffing” of network traffic
- Writing of reports to analyse the problem, and suggest solutions
Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more details of terms, rates and availability.
Whilst the services request normally fall into one or the above categories, there is often overlap, and other similar projects can easily be undertaken.