Communication and network configurations are important considerations before acquiring a digital microscopy system for diagnosis as there will be large amounts of data transmitted across the network from scanners to workstations (local or remote), storage devices and the LIS.
For the safe and effective use of the digital microscopy, the IT infrastructure must be able to cope with the increased data traffic, transmit the data securely to protect patient confidentiality and reduce risk of data loss.
- leave the original image on the server,
- transmit only that image region, which is currently needed on the client side.
- the server extracts only the current region in the current magnification from the original image, compresses and transmits to the client, which shows it in the virtual microscope.
- this reduces the data communication to small image tiles, which is comparable to the network traffic of general internet browsing.
- real-time transfer protocol (RTP)
- real-time streaming protocol (RTSP)
- real-time transport control protocol (RTCP)
The digital microscopy system should be capable of integration and synchronisation with existing LIS systems to ensure that there is:
- no need for double entry of comments,
- completeness, accuracy and integrity of messages between the digital microscopy system at all times, and
- any changes to the LIS or digital microscopy systems are synchronised.
The digital microscopy systems should support an open format that can be transformed to the Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard in the future when the DICOM licensing terms are fully known.
The DICOM Standard, (originally published as the American College of Radiology—National Electrical Manufacturers Association Standard for Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine; now maintained by the multi-specialty DICOM Standards Committee) specifies a non-proprietary data interchange protocol, digital image format, and file structure for biomedical images and image-related information. Its current structure, which was developed in 1993, provides detailed engineering information that can be used in interface specifications to enable network connectivity among a variety of vendors' products. The Standard describes how to format and exchange medical images and associated information, both within the hospital and outside the hospital (that is, telepathology, teleradiology or telemedicine). DICOM interfaces are available for connection of any combination of the following categories of digital imaging devices:
(a) image acquisition equipment
(b) image archives
(c) image processing devices and image display workstations
(d) hard-copy output devices.
- the DICOM Message Service and Upper Layer Service, which provides independence from specific physical networking communication support and protocols such as TCP/IP.
- the DICOM Web Service API and HTTP Service, which allows use of common hypertext and associated protocols for transport of DICOM services.
- basic DICOM File Service, which provides access to Storage Media independently from specific media storage formats and file structures.
A standard messaging protocol (such as Health Level Seven, HL7) should be used for transmission of information between the digital microscopy system or middleware and LIS. If HL7 is used then it must be compliant to "AS4700.2 Implementation of Health Level Seven".