Data anonymization in TPC

Patient privacy protection

Any un-authorized collection of patient or control subject records is strictly forbidden. Any data containing any possibility of patient or control subject identification must not be taken outside the premises of Turku University Hospital or Turku PET Centre.

Please note that medical images may contain information for patient identification. Even regional tissue data (for example files made with Imadeus software) and blood or plasma data may sometimes contain patient identification. PET Centre provides software (dcmanon and ecatanon) for removal of this information, and researcher is responsible for doing this before image or raw data is copied outside the hospital and/or given to any person who is not registered as an employee or researcher in Turku PET Centre. This applies also to the data copied to personal laptops or USB devices that may be taken outside of the hospital.

Anonymization of DICOM images

DICOM image data can be anonymized in the most recent Carimas version, or using separate program dcmanon with graphical user-interface.

Alternatively, DICOM images can be anonymized with command-line program dcmanoncom:

For example, if DICOM folder is S:\temp\dicom, then enter command

dcmanoncon "s:\temp\dicom" --out="s:\temp\anonym"

to get the anonymized copies into folder S:\temp\anonym. If you would like to process also all subfolders, then add option -R, for example:

dcmanoncon -R "s:\temp\dicom" --out="s:\temp\anonym"

Notice that this only removes the subject identification information inside DICOM images, but DICOM folder names may also contain the subject name or other information that needs to be removed manually.

For more information please contact Timo Laitinen.

Anonymization of ECAT images

In ECAT 6.3 and 7.x files this information can be removed using ecatanon version 4.3 or later. This program can be used in PC/Windows command shell in all computers connected to hospital network. Alternatively, the program can be downloaded from http://www.turkupetcentre.net/software/list.php.

Please note that if this program is executed without any command-line options, it will by default not delete the patient identification information. Usually, options -n +f -i -s are recommended, for example:

ecatanon -n +f -i -s *.v

Anonymization and format conversion

If image is converted to another format using ImageConverter, the data can be optionally anonymized during the process.


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Created at: 2002-01-13
Updated at: 2015-10-07
Written by: Vesa Oikonen