Store and manage medical imaging data with Azure Data Lake Storage (preview)
Published Nov 27 2023 06:00 AM 1,758 Views



If you’re a healthcare organization or a researcher who deals with medical imaging data, you know how valuable it is for improving patient care, advancing medical knowledge, and reducing health disparities. But you also know how challenging it is to store and manage your data in a way that gives you full control and flexibility, while also leveraging the power and scalability of the DICOMweb standard.

With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we aim to deliver meaningful outcomes across the healthcare journey whether that is by improving patient experiences or by integrating data from previously siloed sources to enable better clinical and operational insights. That’s why we’re excited to announce the Public Preview of Azure Data Lake Storage integration for the DICOM® service in Azure Health Data Services. The DICOM service provides cloud-scale storage for medical imaging data using the DICOMweb standard.

With the integration of Azure Data Lake Storage, organizations can now enjoy full control over their imaging data and increased flexibility for accessing and working with that data through the Azure storage ecosystem and APIs.


Enhance medical imaging data management and analysis

Azure Data Lake Storage is a service that lets organizations store and manage their data assets. By integrating Azure Data Lake Storage with the Azure storage ecosystem and APIs, organizations have more control and flexibility over their data. For example, organizations can directly access their data through Azure storage APIs. These APIs allow organizations to use different tools and libraries that work with DICOM data. Some of the tools and libraries that can be used with medical imaging data are:


By using Azure Data Lake Storage with the DICOM service, organizations are able to:

  • Enable direct access to medical imaging data stored by the DICOM service using Azure storage APIs and DICOMweb APIs, providing more flexibility to access and work with the data.
  • Open medical imaging data up to the entire ecosystem of tools for working with Azure storage, including AzCopy, Azure Storage Explorer, and the Data Movement library.
  • Unlock new analytics and AI/ML scenarios by using services that natively integrate with Azure Data Lake Storage, including Azure Synapse, Azure Databricks, Azure Machine Learning, and Microsoft Fabric.
  • Grant controls to manage storage permissions, access controls, tiers, and rules.


Leverage Microsoft Fabric for medical imaging data analytics and AI/ML

Another benefit of Azure Data Lake Storage is that it connects to Microsoft Fabric. Microsoft Fabric is an end-to-end, unified analytics platform that brings together all the data and analytics tools that organizations need to unlock the potential of their data and lay the foundation for the era of AI. Through the power of Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, we recently introduced healthcare data solutions in Microsoft Fabric that unify data and insights through one common architecture and experience. Now available in preview, the healthcare data solutions in Fabric eliminate the costly, time-consuming process of stitching together a complex set of disconnected, multimodal health data sources – text, images, video, etc. – and provides a secure and governed way for organizations to access, analyze and visualize data-driven insights across their organization. Microsoft Fabric provides a unified view of data across modalities, locations, and systems, and supports interoperability with FHIR and DICOM standards. By using Microsoft Fabric, organizations can leverage the rich ecosystem of Azure services to perform advanced analytics and AI/ML with medical imaging data, such as building and deploying machine learning models, creating cohorts for clinical trials, and generating insights for patient care and outcomes. Healthcare organizations can gain new insights into patient care, healthcare outcomes, and clinician experiences using medical imaging data with analytics tools such as Azure Synapse, Azure Databricks, and Microsoft Fabric. Research organizations looking to identify research cohorts, build ML models, or perform inferencing using existing imaging models can use tools like Microsoft Fabric and Azure Machine Learning.


To learn more about analytics with imaging data, see Get started using DICOM data in analytics workloads.


Own and control your own data assets

Retaining ownership of the storage account for imaging data also provides healthcare organizations a decisive advantage – enhanced control over their invaluable data assets. The ability to tune storage permissions, access controls, data tiers, and rules allows those organizations to meet their healthcare objectives while effectively managing costs and safeguarding the utmost security and privacy of patient information.


To learn more about storage tiers and managing costs, see Optimize costs by automatically managing the data lifecycle.


To learn more about access controls, see Access control model for Azure Data Lake Storage Gen2.


Take advantage of architecture improvements

The current architecture of the DICOM service automatically provisions an Azure storage account behind the scenes to store DICOM data that’s uploaded to the service. This storage account is only accessible via the DICOMweb APIs and the security and lifecycle of the account is managed by the DICOM service.


The new architecture provides customers with the option to specify an Azure Data Lake Storage account, owned and managed by the customer, that the DICOM service uses to store DICOM data received by the DICOMweb APIs. The DICOM service is granted access to the data like any other service or application accessing data in a storage account, and that access can be revoked at any time without affecting a customer’s ability to access their data.


To learn how to configure the DICOM service with Azure Data Lake Storage, see Deploy the DICOM service with Data Lake Storage (Preview).



With Azure Health Data Services, customers pay only for what they use. DICOM service customers incur storage costs for storage of the DICOM data and metadata used to operate the DICOM service as well as charges for API requests. The data lake storage model shifts most of the storage costs from Azure Health Data Services to Azure Data Lake Storage (where the .dcm files are stored).


For detailed pricing information, see Pricing - Azure Health Data Services and Azure Storage Data Lake Gen2 Pricing.


Next steps

The Public Preview release is available in the Azure portal. We’re excited to get your feedback so please give it a try and let us know your thoughts.


Do more with your data with the Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare

In the era of AI, Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare enables healthcare organizations to accelerate their data and AI journey by augmenting the Microsoft Cloud with industry relevant data solutions, templates and capabilities. With Microsoft Cloud for Healthcare, healthcare organizations can create connected patient experiences, empower your healthcare workforce and unlock the value from clinical and operational data using data standards that are important to healthcare. And we’re doing all of this on a foundation of trust. Every organization needs to safeguard their business, their customers, and their data – particularly in this era of AI. Microsoft Cloud runs on trust, and we’re helping every organization build safety and responsibility into their AI journey from the very beginning.
We’re excited to help your organization gain value from your data and use AI innovation to deliver meaningful outcomes across the entire healthcare journey.

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‎Nov 22 2023 02:32 PM
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