Faced with the prospect of using CD-ROM or other "hard" media to collect, sort and archive thousands of files from the multisite MR substudy of the Women's Health Initiative Memory Study (WHIMS-MRI), Desiderio and colleagues decided to let the images come to them instead.Using MIRC's Field Center application, the Penn MR Reading Center received 1,422 MR studies—each containing approximately 360 images—directly from MR imagers located at 14 different sites.MIRC was tailored specifically for WHIMS-MRI, which examined the occurrence of cerebrovascular disease in 1,450 post-menopausal women who received hormone therapy during the Women's Health Initiative (WHI). Most WHIMS-MRI sites had the MIRC software installed by their own IT administrators, who worked by phone with MIRC support staff to test the program."The data were in DICOM format and no specific processing was involved, with the exception of anonymizing personal health information," Desiderio said. MIRC staff helped set up features to remove patient information from the files and assign identification numbers to each study participant, enabling a seamless transfer without compromising patient privacy or consuming staff time.Minimal work was needed to start transferring files afterPenn confirmed receipt of a test scan,said Desiderio. MIRC personnel helped remotely install updated versions of MIRC software as they emerged during the course of the study.As data were received through the MIRC server, Penn staff reviewed images and then transferred them to a dedicated workstation. The transition will be even more efficient, she said, as increased workstation capabilities are added to MIRC. "Advanced imaging techniques like MR spectroscopy, perfusion and diffusion tensor imaging along with computer-aided detection systems would allow for improved methods of image analysis," she said.MIRC was a fast, efficient and user-friendly method of transmitting images, especially from multiple sites, said Desiderio. "The anonymization feature, with no interruption at the local site's PACS, also proved useful for a clinical research trial," she added.
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