7.9 Extension of the DICOM Model of the Real World for Specimens

The DICOM Model of the Real World is extended for Specimens with the addition of several objects whose relationships to each other and existing DICOM Real World objects are shown in Figure 7.9-1.

Attributes of the Specimen, Container, Component and Preparation Step objects are represented in the Specimen Module within the Image IODs.

DICOM Model of the Real World - Specimens

Figure 7.9-1. DICOM Model of the Real World - Specimens

7.9.1 Specimen

A physical object (or a collection of objects) is a specimen when the laboratory considers it a single discrete, uniquely identified unit that is the subject of one or more steps in the laboratory (diagnostic) workflow.

7.9.2 Container

Specimen containers (or just "containers") play an important role in laboratory (diagnostic) processes. In most, but not all, process steps, specimens are held in containers, and a container often carries its specimen's ID. Sometimes the container becomes intimately involved with the specimen (e.g., a paraffin block), and in some situations (such as examining tissue under the microscope) the container (the slide and coverslip) become part of the optical path.

7.9.3 Container Component

Containers are often made up of components. For example, a "slide" is container that is made up of the glass slide, the cover slip and the "glue" the binds them together.

7.9.4 Preparation Step

Before a slide is imaged, the preparation of the specimen (including sampling, processing and staining) will take place. Specimen preparation is described as a sequence of time-stamped process steps. Multiple steps are possible, and may include sampling from ancestor specimens.