Translating DICOM to FHIR

Last updated: Aug 25, 2023

Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) is the communication standard for imaging and related metadata in healthcare.

Sounds nice to have one standard, right? But DICOM can be complex, and it may not give you the holistic view of the patient you’re hoping for. Alternatively, you can leverage the Redox FHIR® API to translate DICOM messages to FHIR® to interact with medical imaging and metadata in a modern, easier way.

Who needs to translate DICOM to FHIR®

Redox can benefit customers on the receiving side of the DICOM data exchange for different scenarios, including:

  • providers that need to interpret any kind of imaging or related metadata;
  • providers that want to view a patient’s historical imaging without needing previous provider interpretations; or
  • health tech vendors consuming imaging data for AI learning or processing.

How it works

We use the FHIR® ImagingStudy resource to translate imaging metadata to FHIR®. As the intermediary, Redox passes the data without processing the original images to avoid latency. But here’s how the DICOM to FHIR® queries generally go:

  1. You send a query to Redox for a patient’s imaging results.
  2. Redox queries the healthcare organization’s web service to find the original image on the Picture Archiving and Communications System (PACS) server.
  3. The PACS server sends a response to Redox with the URL for the storage location of the image.
  4. Redox returns to you the endpoint URL for the image (within the FHIR® Endpoint resource, which is referenced in ImagingStudy).
  5. You send a query to the endpoint URL to retrieve the original image.

Which DICOM operations can Redox translate

Redox can translate these DICOM operations:

DICOM Operation
Exchanges PS3.10 files or separated metadata and bulk data, which allows you to retrieve entire studies and series instead of sending multiple queries for individual instances. With Redox, this is the operation we translate when you query for the location of a patient’s imaging results.
Exchanges databases or registries of DICOM objects. With Redox, this is the operation we translate when you query an endpoint URL for the original imaging results.