For medical facilities and hospitals storage is one of the most vital components of their technological arsenal because they must have secure and large storage options for all of the thousands of patient digital records created each year. It is for this reason that many turn to a DICOM archive.This type of archive can grow as your practice grows. You can start with one terabyte of storage space, and then expand to tens of terabytes as the need arises.Another benefit that comes from using a DICOM archive is that format creates compatibility among many different types of medical equipment. If you routinely take digital images using a variety of modalities, such at PET, CT, MRI and others, you will need a way to get the images off the modalities and onto your viewers. This is where the DICOM format comes into play.This is a digital imaging format that has been designed around meeting the needs of medical digital imaging, and the good news is that there are PACS systems, viewers, different imaging systems, archives and distribution equipment and software available that can translate DICOM format, making it possible to achieve compatibility among these disparate tools.A digital image archive like this allows you to store your images on a server. This server may be onsite at your hospital or medical office, or offsite. Both are helpful, and the offsite option also enables your HIPPA compliance for disaster recovery of patient files.Dicom viewing can occur on a clinical workstation at your office, or on workstations throughout a network. If your viewing system is web-based, you can also use virtual private networks, which offer a secure means for referring physicians to send and receive digital medical images over the World Wide Web.As you can see, with all of the various places that information comes from and must go to in order to achieve excellent patient care, many medical facilities use a PACS system as their DICOM router. The router makes sure that information gets from the different modalities to the workstations, and if a RIS system is also in place, it ensures that your front office can schedule work orders and take patient information, and add that data to the digital images, so that a complete digital patient record is created, which can then be stored in your digital archive.By digitizing the process through the use of the DICOM format, storage of patient records and digital medical imaging has become a much more simple process than in years past.