DICOM Storage is the most used DICOM service, allowing the exchange of images and other DICOM objects between devices. It utilizes the DICOM C_STORE operation. An option that can be addressed during negotiation for a DICOM Store operation is whether coercion is allowed.

Coercion is the process of filling in values for attributes when the original values are missing. For example, in a situation when a modality does not have a connection with the Information System, or the network is temporarily down, the technologist is required to enter the Patient Name manually. The receiving device might double check this information, decide that it is incorrect and modify - or coerce - the attribute value in the image before sending it on.

Systems that receive DICOM data often need a minimum set of attributes (such as Patient Name or ID) to add the object information to its database, and will coerce values, if possible, rather than reject the data.

The rules governing when and what can be modified or coerced in an image are somewhat unclear; which means that different vendors interpret them differently. The general rule is that if the changes cause any clinically different interpretation, one should create a copy of that object, make the changes in the copy and identify it as a separate object.

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