New Digital Pathology DICOM Standards Will Expand Pathologists’ Use of Whole Slide Images

Clinical pathology laboratories will soon archive digital pathology images in their hospitals’ PACS

Digital pathology moves one step forward toward true “plug and play” with the recent approval of the DICOM supplement 145. These are the technical specifications that support whole-slide digital pathology images. Approval of these standards now makes it possible for clinical laboratories and pathology groups to store digital pathology images in a form that is compatible with the same DICOM archive systems used by hospitals and other providers to store radiology images.

The approval was issued in August and is a direct result of five years of work by the DICOM Working Group 26. There is a key benefit to DICOM supplement 145. When whole slide images and associated information are formatted to its specifications, it will be possible for an anatomic pathologist to retrieve and manage those images—regardless of which manufacturer’s digital pathology system produced the image.