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    • MIRC Clinical Trials Processor Enables Cardiac CT Research

    • RSNA News continues its profiles of real-world users of RSNA’s Medical Imaging Resource Center (MIRC). This month’s user is J. Jeffrey Carr, M.D., M.S., a professor of radiology in breast and cardiovascular imaging and director of the Image Lab at Wake Forest University. Dr. Carr talked about how using MIRC helps him manage seemingly unwieldy volumes of clinical trials data.

      RNSA News, February 2007

      Ask him what he likes best about MIRC, and Dr. Carr will cut right to the chase: “It just works,” he said.

      It’s easy to see how Dr. Carr, who is tracking data for several multicenter clinical trials involving thousands of participants, would appreciate that basic utility. The MIRC Field Center application allows the quick transfer of data from remote sites while maintaining confidentiality, security and positive identification of research participants, he said. He added that the application is still useful even in cases employing more traditional image transfer methods—that is, compact discs sent via overnight mail—as MIRC can process the images and route them to the Picture Archiving and Communication System (PACS).

      “We have implemented the MIRC suite of tools in a variety of ways to facilitate our research,” said Dr. Carr. One example is the MIRC Toolkit, he said, which has been useful for editing
      DICOM fields when identification numbers have been erroneously entered.

      A user for more than three years, Dr. Carr said not only does the MIRC software work, so do the people. A subcommittee of the RSNA Radiology Informatics Committee oversees MIRC. “We have had a continuous dialogue with MIRC people at RSNA about current and future needs of researchers related to deidentification, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, unique study identifiers and firewall issues,” Dr. Carr said. “In all cases the open source nature of the MIRC project has resulted in improvements that have really made a difference in how we do quality imaging research in large and small studies.”

      Dr. Carr has used MIRC for two studies related to the Women’s Health Initiative of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI), as well as NHLBI’s Coronary Artery Risk Development in Young Adults (CARDIA) study, comprising the cardiac CT exams of more than 3,300 participants.

      J. Jeffrey Carr, M.D., M.S.