DICOM Troubleshooting: Is the Metadata Compliant?
Are you running into issues with your imaging study not transferring, not being accepted by another database, or not viewable within an FDA-approved viewer? If so, you could potentially be encountering a DICOM standard compliance issue.
DICOM network transfers, databases, and FDA-approved viewers rely on the universal DICOM industry standard published by NEMA. This standard sets the rules of how meta-data must be formatted in order to allow the DICOM to be rendered by a viewer accurately, transferred through a network, or stored/read by a database.
What might this mean if your study is not DICOM compliant? This could mean missing required meta-data values or illegally set meta-data values preventing the data from being transferred, accepted by a database, or viewed in an FDA-approved viewer. These values include any meta-data values within the study that’s required by the DICOM standard. These required values range from patient demographic information such as 'PatientsName' and 'PatientsBirthDate' to image position data such as 'ImagePositionPatient' and 'ImageOrientationPatient'.
Is Your DICOM Metadata Compliant?
If you suspect your imaging study or studies might not be DICOM standard compliant, you may want to check. To do this, I would recommend that you utilize a DICOM meta-data validator tool and request that your vendor takes a look. I’m an Apple user, so I use the validator tool found within a Dicom software called Horos. If you are a Windows user, I would recommend that you utilize DICOM Validator - dciodvfy.
After you have run your imaging studies against a validator software, if you find errors within your study meta-data, I would recommend that you reach out to your modality vendor support and/or PACS support to get these errors rectified. The validator tool should be able to provide you with more information as to which specific fields are causing an issue. If you would like to do your own research on what the proper configuration is for a specific field based on an error encountered, please refer to the following resources as you may find them helpful:
DICOM Standards Introduction & Overview