Hamilton creates new model for collaborative MRI usage
October 2, 2023
HAMILTON, ONT. – Mohawk College and McMaster University have announced the opening of a new facility for educational training, imaging research and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) that promises to cut wait times and improve patient experience.
The Centre for Integrated and Advanced Medical Imaging (CIAMI), provides a space where education, clinical care, and research intersect through collaborative and unique models of care and approaches to training that have not been done before in Ontario.
In addition to education and research components, the centre partners with affiliated academic hospital systems, Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton.
The centre is an excellent example of working with the community and partners to advance human and societal health and well-being, said McMaster president David Farrar.
“The new CIAMI facility is an excellent example of how close collaboration with our academic partner Mohawk College and our academic hospital partners Hamilton Health Sciences and St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton is helping build a brighter, healthier future for our community,” said Farrar.
Located at the Mohawk-McMaster Institute of Applied Health Sciences building on McMaster’s main campus, the facility includes a newly installed advanced MRI unit, the second of its kind in Canada.
“The creation of CIAMI provides a clear example of how Mohawk College and McMaster University work together with community partners to everyone’s benefit,” said Mohawk president Ron McKerlie.
“Together, we will conduct research to identify best practices, will offer students exceptional training, and will provide greater access to MRI services for patients. We are excited to move forward on this initiative with our valued partners.”
The Ontario Ministry of Health has provided $5 million in funding over three years to support the creation, development, and testing of the CIAMI model, including funding to operate an MRI for clinical use.
CIAMI provides a revolutionary approach to cutting wait times and could double the speed of service for patients needing MRI scans. Currently, the average for MRI scans is 1.54 patients per hour in Ontario, but early CIAMI data from a pilot at St. Joseph’s suggests that could be improved.
CIAMI enables a new model of training with a living lab for interdisciplinary teams to provide education, taking pressure off hospitals for clinical placements while expediting the capability to graduate MRI technologists into the system.
The centre will also be the site for continuing research, with access to innovative technologies and the use of artificial intelligence (AI) to enable cutting-edge discoveries. CIAMI brings technology and healthcare together in Hamilton to propel advancements in imaging research.
“We have a backlog of patients waiting for MRI scans in our region, we are facing a health human resource crisis in Ontario, we have challenges in meeting the imaging needs of our hospital in-patients and our researchers need access to equipment that isn’t competing with clinical needs,” said Julian Dobranowski, professor and chair of the Department of Medical Imaging at McMaster and an adjunct professor at Mohawk College.
“CIAMI provides an innovative solution to all of these issues. We are excited to validate this new model of care to enhance patient care across the province.”
The centre presents an exciting opportunity for patients, clinicians and students, said Rob MacIsaac, president of HHS.
“The combined focus on teaching and research will undoubtedly give way to new solutions to some of our health system’s most pressing issues, including healthcare worker shortages and diagnostic imaging wait times.”
“The opening of this centre will build on the important partnerships among our educational institutions and healthcare organizations,” said John Aldis, interim president, St. Joseph’s Healthcare Hamilton. “It brings together our brightest minds to challenge what we do today, improve the way imaging technologies are used and services are delivered, to benefit patients across our region and beyond.”
CIAMI is supported by funding from Mohawk and McMaster, the Juravinski Research Institute, and a grant from the Government of Ontario’s College Equipment and Renewal Fund (CERF), with additional funding to operate an MRI coming from the province.
GE HealthCare (GEHC), the manufacturer of the MRI that has been installed in the facility, and CIAMI are collaborating on initiatives to increase access to resources to support education and research.