27 October 2010

Not all x-rays are created equal..

Can you spare a JPEG? And no, I don't mean DICOM files exported from your digital imaging software renamed with a .jpg extension. I'm referring to your garden-variety JPEG format image that every dental imaging software is capable of exporting. Why do I ask, you say? Well, as digital imaging becomes more common, so do my calls from clients complaining that they cannot view the x-rays that office "B" just sent them via email.

Now why would that be? Well, it seems there's a crucial training topic missing from the usual syllabus for digital imaging software classes. You see, when a patient visits the specialist (oral surgeon, periodontist, etc.) and the specialist's office calls asking for x-rays (preferably digital), what does your staff do? Export and email. But in what format?

My usual response to the calls mentioned above has been "Please call/reply to office 'B' and ask them to export the images as JPEG, not (insert proprietary format here)." It's true that the majority of dental imaging software understands the DICOM format, however, that is not their default image type. In fact, nearly every product uses its own propriety format for storing images. But they're just images, right? I wish it were that simple, but there is a simple solution (hint: it's my usual response).


  1. Outside of the format itself, there are the other issues that come with emailing files. These include security, continuity of the patient's record and receiving the attached files through spam blockers. The solution we have created for this- www.edossea.com, allows sharing of X-rays across dental offices via a central location.

  2. I learned alot by reading your article. I have been reading your blog alot over the past few days and it has earned a place
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  3. Yes, we can all view JPEG (picture files), however conversion to the JPEG format can be lossy (loss of image resolution) and strips away all of the embedded data collected inside the DICOM file. There are free DICOM viewers readily available to download from the internet for viewing of the X-Rays without losing the content of this embedded data.

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