19 May 2003 The IRMA code for unique classification of medical images
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Modern communication standards such as Digital Imaging and Communication in Medicine (DICOM) include non-image data for a standardized description of study, patient, or technical parameters. However, these tags are rather roughly structured, ambiguous, and often optional. In this paper, we present a mono-hierarchical multi-axial classification code for medical images and emphasize its advantages for content-based image retrieval in medical applications (IRMA). Our so called IRMA coding system consists of four axes with three to four positions, each in {0,...9,a,...,z}, where "0" denotes "unspecified" to determine the end of a path along an axis. In particular, the technical code (T) describes the imaging modality; the directional code (D) models body orientations; the anatomical code (A) refers to the body region examined; and the biological code (B) describes the biological system examined. Hence, the entire code results in a character string of not more than 13 characters (IRMA: TTTT - DDD - AAA - BBB). The code can be easily extended by introducing characters in certain code positions, e.g., if new modalities are introduced. In contrast to other approaches, mixtures of one- and two-literal code positions are avoided which simplifies automatic code processing. Furthermore, the IRMA code obviates ambiguities resulting from overlapping code elements within the same level. Although this code was originally designed to be used in the IRMA project, other use of it is welcome.
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Thomas Martin Lehmann, Thomas Martin Lehmann, Henning Schubert, Henning Schubert, Daniel Keysers, Daniel Keysers, Michael Kohnen, Michael Kohnen, Berthold B. Wein, Berthold B. Wein, "The IRMA code for unique classification of medical images", Proc. SPIE 5033, Medical Imaging 2003: PACS and Integrated Medical Information Systems: Design and Evaluation, (19 May 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.480677; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.480677

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