Caution should be used with DICOM data deidentification

By Erik L. Ridley, AuntMinnie staff writer

November 4, 2013 --

Wednesday, December 4 | 11:00 a.m.-11:10 a.m. | SSK11-04 | Room S405AB
In this Wednesday morning talk, Dutch researchers will show how many freeware DICOM toolkits don't completely deidentify DICOM headers.

While numerous tools have been developed to perform the task of DICOM data deidentification, each introduces its own deidentification profiles for removing or replacing a selection of header elements. Therefore, each tool produces its own specific outcomes from the deidentification process, according to co-author Dr. Kadek Aryanto from University Medical Center Groningen.

Aryanto's team tested 10 freeware DICOM toolkits and found that not all of the toolkits were able to completely deidentify the selected DICOM header. Only two toolkits yielded a high deidentification success rate using its default setting, while an additional four produced a high success rate after careful customization, Aryanto said.

"We suggest that free DICOM toolkits should therefore be used with extreme care when deidentifying sensitive data, since they can have a high risk of disclosing personal health information, especially when using the default configuration," Aryanto told "In case optimal security is required, one tool is recommended for its high level of customization to perform deidentification to exactly meet the regulation requirements and its ability of removing information 'burned in' into the image pixels."

Which tool is that? You'll have to attend the talk to get the answer.


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