DICOM PS3.1 2024b - Introduction and Overview

7 Referencing The DICOM Standard

Under the procedures of the DICOM Standards Committee, the Standard is in constant revision. Supplements and corrections to the Standard are balloted and approved several times a year. Each change when approved as Final Text immediately goes into effect. At intervals, all of the approved Final Text changes are consolidated into a published edition of the Standard, identified by year of publication, but such publication is only a convenience to the user; the Standard is officially changed when each change is approved.

Conformance to the DICOM Standard is through specified SOP Classes using DIMSE messages (see PS3.4), Web Services (see PS3.18), media interchange (see Annex I “Media Storage Service Class (Normative)” in PS3.4 and PS3.10), or the hosted application API (see PS3.19). Additional conformance claims may be made to Profiles (see PS3.11 and PS3.15). Once such a unit of conformance is specified in the Standard, all changes thereto are forward and backward compatible (except in rare cases where the original specification was non-interoperable, or conflicted with another standard). Conformance requirements and conformance claims are therefore referenced to the name and/or identifier of the feature, and never referenced to an edition of the Standard. Generally, the only appropriate reference to a particular edition of the Standard is to identify a retired feature (see Section 1.4.2 Continuous Maintenance).

The following citation form is preferred for general references to the Standard, without specification of date of edition, when specific conformance requirements are not invoked:

NEMA PS3 / ISO 12052, Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM) Standard, National Electrical Manufacturers Association, Rosslyn, VA, USA (available free at http://www.dicomstandard.org/)

The requirements of this section do not override the requirement to provide a DICOM Conformance Statement as described in PS3.2.

The following forms are preferred for references to units of conformance to the Standard when they are made outside the context of a DICOM Conformance Statement (e.g., in customer requirements):


  1. Some Application Profiles and Web Services may fully specify the information objects exchanged, while others may require explicit specification of SOP Classes in the references.

  2. Examples:

    • The modality shall be conformant to the DICOM CT Image Storage and MR Image Storage SOP Classes for network exchange as a Service Class User, as specified in DICOM PS3.4: Service Class Specifications.

    • The workstation shall be conformant to the DICOM STD-XA1K-DVD Application Profile as a File Set Reader, as specified in DICOM PS3.11: Media Storage Application Profiles.

    • The PACS shall be conformant to the DICOM WADO-RS and STOW-RS Web Services as an Origin-server for the SOP Classes listed in Table X, as specified in DICOM PS3.18: Web Services.

  3. Such references are not permitted in lieu of a Conformance Statement for a product. For example, a product that reads or creates DICOM interchange media is required to have a Conformance Statement (as described in PS3.2) that enumerates the Media Application Profiles it implements. A statement in some other format, or a document that describes that a product supports recording of files of a particular SOP Class defined in PS3.4, is not sufficient as an alternative to a Conformance Statement.

Reference may be made to other features of the Standard, but these shall not be construed as DICOM conformance requirements (although they may be conformance requirements for non-DICOM implementation guides or regulations). Following are some examples:


For example, products producing or receiving SR documents must conform to a SOP Class, such as Enhanced SR; such products may also cite use of Template ID 5200 Echocardiography Procedure Report, but that is not a formal DICOM Conformance assertion. However, a non-DICOM implementation guide, such as the IHE Echocardiography Workflow Profile, may require use of that Template, and an implementation may describe its use of specific Templates in its Conformance Statement.

Since changes to the Standard shall not be cited prior to adoption as Final Text, and since after adoption they are formally part of the Standard, there should be no citations to supplements or correction items for the purpose of describing conformance. Reference to such change documents may be made for describing the historical development of the DICOM Standard.

DICOM PS3.1 2024b - Introduction and Overview