CADTH produces Canadian inventory of DI equipment

OTTAWA – Ever wonder what kind of diagnostic imaging machines are available in different provinces or territories? Will a patient be able to get a CT or MRI scan nearby, for example, or will they need to travel to another jurisdiction? What is the ideal location to place a new imaging machine and where should upgrades take place?

An updated, pan-Canadian inventory of DI equipment has just been released, containing a wealth of information to help answer these questions and more.

The Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory (CMII) is now available, with open-access at

Developed by CADTH, the CMII reports contain high-quality data obtained in 2017 on the quantities, locations, ages, technical specifications, and uses of imaging machines installed across the country.

Since 2001, national statistics have been collected on imaging modalities by various Canadian organizations – with CADTH taking on the responsibility in 2015.

As these technologies rapidly advance, the continual need for an updated picture is imperative to help decision makers understand the evolution of medical imaging, the influence of emerging technologies, and the expansion of clinical applications and population needs.

Public and private health care administrators were invited, on a voluntary basis, to complete a comprehensive web-based survey on six specialty imaging technologies including:

• computed tomography (CT)
• magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
• single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
• positron emission tomography/computed tomography (PET/CT)
• single-photon emission computed tomography/computed tomography (SPECT/CT)
• and positron emission tomography/ magnetic resonance imaging (PET/MRI).

Analysis revealed that every province has at least one CT machine and that this imaging modality is the most common among those surveyed, with 561 machines in Canada, up from 419 a decade prior. This represents growth of approximately 35 percent in the 10-year period.

Although an increase was observed, this technology actually experienced the slowest rate of growth compared to the other machines studied, which may be due to market saturation.

The number of CT exams being performed increased, with 5.61 million exams completed in 2017, up from 3.38 million in 2007.

With a 65 percent increase in the number of machines, MRI is the second most common technology surveyed, with 366 machines, up from 222 units in 2007. There were 1.86 million MRI exams performed in 2017, up from 1 million in 2007.

SPECT was the only modality in the survey to show numbers dropping over the past 10 years. There were 330 SPECT machines accounted for in the 2017 data, with trends suggesting that SPECT-CT machines are replacing SPECT machines. In fact, SPECT-CT experienced the fastest rate of growth compared with all other imaging machines.

There was a total of 261 SPECT-CT machines, 51 PET-CT machines, and three PET-MRI machines captured in the latest survey results. At this time, all three PET-MRI machines are located in

Ontario and are being used solely for research purposes.

Most imaging equipment has been operating for 10 or fewer years, which is in line with the Canadian Association of Radiologists guidelines. SPECT is the exception, with 57.5 percent of units being more than 10 years old.

Not surprisingly, the greatest number and variety of machines are located in the highly populated provinces of Ontario, Quebec, Alberta, and British Columbia. Prince Edward Island and the territories have the lowest number of machines. For each imaging modality, approximately 60 percent of all growth in the last decade can be attributed to Quebec and Ontario.

As medical imaging continues to remain a vital part of modern health care, aiding in diagnosis, staging, and monitoring of an array of conditions and diseases, it is important to take stock of what is happening in our communities and in Canada as a whole. Trend watching will continue as a 2020 update is scheduled for publication.

CADTH extends an invitation to those interested in hearing more about these results to sign up for a free, online webinar as part of the official CMII launch on April 16, 2018 at the 2018 CADTH Symposium. Register at: To learn more about the CMII and other related reports, visit

Written by Editor

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