Medical information, composed of clinical data, images and other physiological signals, has become an essential part of a patient's care, whether during screening, the diagnostic stage or the treatment phase. Data in the form of images and signals form part of each patient's medical file, and as such have to be stored and often transmitted from one place to another.
Over the past 30 years, information technology (IT) has facilitated the development of digital medical imaging. This development has mainly concerned Computed Tomography (CT), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), the different digital radiological processes for vascular, cardiovascular and contrast imaging, mammography, diagnostic ultrasound imaging, nuclear medical imaging with Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography (SPECT) and Positron Emission Tomography (PET). All these processes (which will be examined in Chapter 3) are producing ever-increasing quantities of images. The same is true for optical imaging: video-endoscopies, microscopy, etc.
The development of this digital imaging creates the obvious problem of the transmission of the images within healthcare centers, and from one establishment to another, as well as the problem of storage and archival. Compression techniques can therefore be extremely useful when we consider the large quantities of data in question.
Ten years ago, physicians were hostile towards the compression of data. The risk ...