Top radiology experts are working together to develop the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC) — an extensive, open-source medical image database of COVID-19 patients to help in the ongoing battle against the virus.
The massive public-private project partnership is funded under the National Institute of Health’s special COVID-19 emergency response through a contract with the University of Chicago and in collaboration with major radiology networks; The American College of Radiology, Radiological Society of North America, and American Association of Physicists.
Dr. Etta Pisano, ASR Chief Research Officer said in the announcement that, “The MIDRC database will provide a critical tool to help the medical imaging community, doctors and scientists better understand COVID-19 and its biological effects on humans. This knowledge, and the technological advancements the registry can enable, will ultimately help providers save lives,”
Aside from leading radiologists, top engineers, physicians, and scientists join the project’s pool of experts to collect and organize the data using artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms. This strategy is implemented to improve the accuracy and speed of handling more than 10,000 COVID thoracic x-rays and CT images.
As a result, radiologists can focus on analyzing the medical images from COVID-19 patients. The scans play a vital role in determining the severity of the virus and prescribing an optimal and individualized treatment for a patient.
The project also includes five infrastructure developments and supervision of twelve research studies, including 20 university-run laboratories, to find solutions to the coronavirus pandemic.
The MIDRC provides a rich and accessible resource of scans and clinical data for medical professionals and researchers worldwide.
The American Association of Physicists in Medicine (AAPM) research committee chair and a faculty of the University of Washington, Dr. Paul Kinahan, said that they are initially focusing on COVID-19 but the network has plans to expand imaging data and AI tools to existing and future healthcare threats.