DICOM PS3.2 2021d - Conformance

6 Purpose of a Conformance Statement

An implementation need not employ all the optional components of the DICOM Standard. After meeting the minimum general requirements, a conformant DICOM implementation may utilize whatever SOP Classes, communications protocols, Media Storage Application Profiles, optional (Type 3) Attributes, codes and controlled terminology, etc., needed to accomplish its designed task.


In fact, it is expected that an implementation might only support the SOP Classes related to its Real World Activities. For example, a simple film digitizer may not support the SOP Classes for other imaging modalities since such support may not be required. On the other hand, a complex storage server might be required to support SOP Classes from multiple modalities in order to adequately function as a storage server. The choice of which components of the DICOM Standard are utilized by an implementation depends heavily on the intended application and is beyond the scope of this Standard.

In addition, the DICOM Standard allows an implementation to extend or specialize the DICOM defined SOP Classes, as well as define Private SOP classes.

A Conformance Statement allows a user to determine which optional components of the DICOM Standard are supported by a particular implementation, and what additional extensions or specializations an implementation adds. By comparing the Conformance Statements from two different implementations, a knowledgeable user should be able to determine whether and to what extent communications might be supported between the two implementations.

Different structures are used for the content of Conformance Statements depending on whether the implementation supports a DICOM network interface, a DICOM Media Storage interface, or a combination thereof. In the latter case, a single Conformance Statement shall be provided that consists of the appropriate sections.

The first part of the conformance statement contains a DICOM Conformance Statement Overview, which is typically a one-page description in the beginning of the document providing a high level description and also listing the Networking and Media Service Classes, including their roles (SCU/SCP, FSC, FSR, etc.).

6.1 Overview of Networking Section for Conformance Statements

The networking section of a Conformance Statement consists of the following major parts:

  • a functional overview containing the Application Data Flow Diagram that shows all the Application Entities, including any sequencing constraints among them. It also shows how they relate to both local and remote Real World Activities;

  • a more detailed specification of each Application Entity, listing the SOP Classes supported and outlining the policies with which it initiates or accepts associations;

  • for each Application Entity and Real-World Activity combination, a description of proposed (for Association Initiation) and acceptable (for Association Acceptance) Presentation Contexts;


A Presentation Context consists of an Abstract Syntax plus a list of acceptable Transfer Syntaxes. The Abstract Syntax identifies one SOP Class or Meta SOP Class (a collection of related SOP Classes identified by a single Abstract Syntax UID). By listing the Application Entities with their proposed and accepted Presentation Contexts, the Conformance Statement is identifying the set of Information Objects and Service Classes that are recognized by this implementation;

  • for each SOP Class related to an Abstract Syntax, a list of any SOP options supported;

  • a set of communications protocols that this implementation supports;

  • a description of any extensions, specializations, and publicly disclosed privatizations in this implementation;

  • a section describing DICOM related configuration details;

  • a description of any implementation details that may be related to DICOM conformance or interoperability;

  • a description of what codes and controlled terminology mechanisms are used.

DICOM PS3.2 2021d - Conformance