DICOM® is a standard for communication of medical imaging information.  Selected highlights of it’s history are shown below:

1980

In the beginning… it was very difficult for anyone other than manufacturers of computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) devices to decode the images that the machines generated, or to print them.

1983

The American College of Radiology (ACR) and the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) joined forces and formed a standards committee to meet the combined needs of radiologists, physicists and equipment vendors.

1985

Their first standard covering point-to-point image communication, ACR-NEMA 300, was released. The specified image transmission used a dedicated 16-bit parallel interface.

1988

The second version of ACR-NEMA 300 was released, gaining increasing acceptance among vendors.

1990

The first demonstration of ACR-NEMA V2.0 occured at Georgetown University in May 1990, and later that year at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA).

1992

The first large-scale deployment of ACR/NEMA was by the US Army and Air Force as part of the MDIS (Medical Diagnostic Imaging Support) program at Fort Detrick, Maryland.

1993

The third version of the standard evolved to use local area networks like Ethernet by layering the medical image protocols on top of general networking protocols (TCP/IP). The name was changed to DICOM (Digital Imaging and COmmunications in Medicine), and published as NEMA Standard PS3.

1995

DICOM added formats for ultrasound, X-ray angiography, and nuclear medicine to the Standard, supporting the needs of cardiology imaging. Image exchange via CDs allowed off-line transfer of imaging studies.

The DICOM Standards Committee reorganized to formally represent all medical specialties that use imaging, not just radiology, including the American College of Cardiology (ACC).

1996

Workflow management in the imaging department was standardized as DICOM added the Modality Worklist service.

1997

Radiation therapy information objects were added.

1999

Endoscopy and dermatology became part of the Standard through the addition of Visible Light objects.

Consistent presentation of image annotations across display systems are enabled with the first Presentation State information objects.

2000

Structured data, analytic results and clinical observations made in the imaging environment were standardized with Structured Reporting (SR), extending DICOM beyond just images.

Internet security mechanisms were added through secure communication profiles for the DICOM protocol.

2001

Mammography CAD (Computer Aided Detection) SR added for the results of automated image analysis.

2003

Multi-frame enhanced image formats adopted to support the next generation of advanced MR and CT imaging techniques.

2004

Web-access to DICOM objects (WADO) added to retrieve DICOM images over HTTP connections.

Dentistry and ophthalmology joined DICOM.

2005

Radiation Dose Structured Reports (RDSR) added for x-ray based imaging (including CT) to support patient safety related data collection.

DICOM Encapsulation of PDF added to manage documents associated with imaging studies.

2008

Breast tomosynthesis (“3-D mammography”) added.

Whole slide imaging and specimen identification added to support anatomic pathology imaging.

2010

Surgical planning information objects added.

2013

Second generation RESTful web services defined to retrieve, store and query DICOM images. The suite of web services is re-branded as DICOMweb™, and is aligned with the HL7 FHIR web services.

2015

Imaging report templates using the HL7 Clinical Document Architecture (CDA) added, aligning with requirements for CDA in the U.S. Meaningful Use of Electronic Health Record Systems regulations.

2017

Volumetric Presentation States added to manage 3D rendering of image sets.