We would like your insights into how to best incorporate 3D manufacturing file formats into the DICOM standard, and thus make it easier to use medical images to create patient-specific 3D objects and manage the associated information.
Working Group 17 is charged with updating the DICOM standard with the above goals in mind. Per our earlier discussions, our expected approach will involve encapsulating standards already well established in use by the 3D manufacturing community. That is, we expect to be able to put a 3D printing model file inside a DICOM object when we want to interact with medical devices/software (e.g. a PACS), and pull out the 3D model file unchanged when we want to work with non-medical devices/software (e.g. a printer).
The question: Which 3D model file formats should we encapsulate?
Even after we eliminate file formats that are encumbered by incompatible license terms*, we are left with a long list of formats that are in use by someone somewhere. Each seems preferred depending purposes and equipment, but we lack hard data on this. Many people use more than one format, depending on circumstances. While we can (and probably will) support encapsulating multiple file formats, we will want to start with the most useful and prevalent file formats, and add others later. We'd also like to completely skip file formats that do not add value over ones we've already covered.
This survey is to help us prioritize the 3D model file formats supported in the new standard based on what the medical 3D manufacturing community feels would be the greatest benefit to the largest number of people.
Thank you for contributing your time to improving interoperability in medicine.
*To have compatible licensing terms, the file format must be publicly defined (i.e. not proprietary) and be guaranteed to remain free of charge to use (e.g. public domain, under a liberal public license, etc.).
Cheryl Kreider Carey, CAE
General Secretary, DICOM Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine
Director, Operations & Administration, MITA Medical Imaging & Technology Alliance
A Division of NEMA, the association of electrical equipment and medical imaging manufacturers