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Updated: 30 June, 2015


Following industry best-practices, TCIA uses a standards-based approach to de-identification of DICOM images to insure that images are free of protected health information (PHI).  The TCIA de-identification process ensures that the HIPAA de-identification standard is met by following the Safe Harbor Method as defined in section 164.514(b)(2) of the HIPPA Privacy Rule. The standard for de-identification of DICOM objects is defined by the DICOM Standard PS 3.15-2011 Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine (DICOM), Part 15: Security and System Management Profiles ( At the submitting site, a DICOM PS 3.15 compliant script removes or modifies DICOM tags deemed to be unsafe (See table 1 for a complete listing). TCIA incorporates the “Basic Application Confidentiality Profile” which is amended by inclusion of the following profile options: Clean Pixel Data Option, Clean Descriptors Option, Retain Longitudinal With Modified Dates Option, Retain Patient Characteristics Option, Retain Device Identity Option, and Retain Safe Private Option.  The de-identification rules applied to each object are recorded by TCIA in the DICOM sequence Method Code Sequence [0012,0063] by entering the Code Value, Coding Scheme Designator, and Code Meaning for each profile and option that were applied to the DICOM object during de-identification. The DICOM standard for de-identification of objects defines a minimum set of elements to de-identify to be in compliance with the standard. It is up to the user doing the de-identification to insure that PHI is removed or cleaned according to the laws and practices in place at the time de-identification occurs.