In the medical field, especially in diagnostic radiology, there still remains controversy over how and whether or not to compress X-ray images for storage and transmission. The joint Photographic Expert Group (JPEG) standard which has recently been agreed upon is the very attractive technique to archive and to transport images in medical fields. This technique is based on 'lossy' compression of images, which can handle not only X-ray images but also full-colored images, and is suitable for introduction into picture archiving and communicating systems (PACS). The images can be handled after compression as quite small clusters of data. For example, a single 2000 x 2000 x 12 bits chest X-ray image which is an 8 Mbyte image compressed at a 10:1 ratio could retain virtually all the visible quality of the original version, and would take 100 s to transmit at 64 kbits/s using the Integrated Services Digital Network (ISDN, 800 kbytes compressed file, 8 kbytes/s transmission theoretically). An important factor in the design of this technique is that this format relies on no specific hardware or software if using JFIF (JPEG File interchange Format). Soon this algorithm will be able to run on any workstation or on any PC in the world. Highly compressed images may be unsuitable for diagnostic purposes. However, they may be sufficient for reference images which will be needed in clinical fields.