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Province-wide database for CT scans created

Dr Bruce GrayTORONTO – Over the past 18 months, Dr. Bruce Gray (pictured) and Dr. Timothy Dowdell, radiologists in the Medical Imaging Department at St. Michael’s Hospital, have established the Medical Imaging Metadata Radiation Registry of Ontario, or MIMRRO.

MIMRO is tracking the radiation dose levels given to patients during CT exams. They are accomplishing this by collecting the metadata – essentially data about data –that is attached to each CT study.

“Image metadata, similar to metadata for images in a digital camera, contains information on the type of CT scanner, type of study, who ordered it, when it was performed, by whom and the specific scanner settings used for the particular study,” said Dr. Gray.

One of the leaders in mining metadata to determine CT radiation exposure levels and comparisons was Radimetrics, a Toronto company that was recently acquired by Bayer. St. Michael’s Hospital was an early adopter of Radimetrics’ dose-tracking software and now has a database containing metadata from St. Michael’s CT scans for the past four years.

This has allowed for the development of a quality initiative that tracks radiation exposures for routine scans in this period.

In the last year-and-a-half, Drs. Gray and Dowdell have been working to expand this approach to data collection and analysis province-wide with the creation of the MIMRRO. MIMRRO is focused on data from CT scans, but ultimately could be applied to other types of medical imaging, including fluoroscopy and nuclear medicine.

By analyzing the CT radiation data across institutions they will be able to determine the average radiation exposure for particular exams and identify centres that may be using more than necessary.

“The fact that there are wide variations in radiation dose between sites is a concern,” said Dr. Gray. “Reducing average dose as well as identifying causes of variability and reducing them will significantly improve the care to our patients.”

About St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future healthcare professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.

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