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With the introduction of computed tomography (CT) followed by other digital diagnostic imaging modalities in the 1970's, and the increasing use of computers in clinical applications, the American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) recognized the emerging need for a standard method for transferring images and associated information between devices manufactured by various vendors. These devices produce a variety of digital image formats.

The ACR-NEMA joint committee was formed in 1983 to develop a standard to:

  • Promote communication of digital image information, regardless of device manufacturer
  • Facilitate the development and expansion of picture archiving and communication systems (PACS) that can also interface with other systems of hospital information
  • Allow the creation of diagnostic information
  • data bases that can be interrogated by a wide variety of devices distributed geographically

After two previous releases of the standard (the first released in 1985 and designated ACR-NEMA version 1.0, the second released in 1988 and designated ACR-NEMA version 2.0), the currently version of the standard (3.0) is designated Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM)

You can find more about the DICOM standard starting from the official ACR-NEMA web site