It has been over 12 years (February 2004) since AVMI installed the first small animal digital radiography system in California. Since then the adoption of digital radiography in veterinary medicine has continued to grow. The vast majority of small animal veterinary practices in southern California have discarded their old film based radiography systems in favor of vastly improved digital systems. In addition to the improved image quality available with digital radiography systems, these systems offer the potential for a dramatically streamlined distribution of their digital content. The Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) standard was developed in the early 1990's in large part to ensure a consistent format for the images generated by medical imaging devices. In addition to the format of the images created by medical imaging devices, the DICOM standard also defines the methods for handling, storing, printing, and transmitting information in medical imaging. To preserve the full image fidelity of diagnostic medical images, DICOM files are intrinsically 16 bit depth allowing up to 212 (= 4096) shades of gray. The DICOM standard has been exclusively adopted by human medical imaging providers and includes a file format definition and a network communications protocol. The communication protocol is an application protocol that uses the standard internet communication protocol (i.e., TCP/IP) to communicate between systems. DICOM files can potentially be exchanged between any two entities on the internet. All of the currently available veterinary radiology systems also support the DICOM standard. Unfortunately, various vendors of veterinary digital radiography systems promote the use of the Joint Photographic Experts Group (JPEG) file format for distributing veterinary medical images rather than the use of DICOM files. JPEG images are 8 bit depth allowing only 28 (= 256) shades of gray. Furthermore JPEG images are generally heavily compressed using a lossy type of compression that leads to significant additional data loss. While the small size of JPEG images makes them great for viewing images on web sites and sending in emails, their limited resolution make them a poor choice for diagnostic medical images. While every veterinary radiography system currently for sale allows for distribution of diagnostic medical images as DICOM files, many veterinary practices have not made the transition to providing images to their clients in this format.
As of January 1st, 2017 AVMI will no longer accept radiographs in any digital form other than DICOM. Of course, we will continue to accept radiographs on film for those practices that have not made the transition to digital radiography systems.
Feel free to send us DICOM images by one of the following methods:
1.) email to reception at avmi dot net (DICOM images can be rather large and your email provider may limit the size of the attachments to your emails, so it is good practice to send individual DICOM images individually attached to separate emails.)
2.) Upload to our web server at https://www.avmi.net/information/uploads
3.) Alternatively you can send DICOM images directly via the DICOM send protocol using any of the common DICOM viewers (OsiriX, eFilm, ClearCanvus, Horos) or any of the commercially available veterinary radiology systems using the following information (AE title must be in ALL CAPS):
If all else fails referring veterinarians can provide their clients with a CD with the DICOM images.
We appreciate the efforts of our referring veterinarians to help us provide the best diagnostic imaging and radionuclide therapy services available.