Infrastructure for sharing standardized clinical brain scans across hospitals.
ABSTRACT Progress in our understanding of brain disorders increasingly relies on costly collection of large standardized brain magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data sets. Moreover, clinical interpretations of brain scans benefit from compare and contrast analyses of scans from patients with similar, and sometimes rare, demographic, diagnostic, and treatment status. A solution to both needs is to acquire standardized, research-ready clinical brain scans and to build the information technology infrastructure to share such scans, along with other pertinent information, across hospitals. The resulting research-ready brain imaging resource would provide a wealth of accessible standardized brain imaging data relevant to patient care and research. This paper describes a pilot project that develops such a brain resource, including the rationale, the short imaging protocol, the access to patient data, and the system architecture. This pilot project is a joined effort by researchers from the Clinical Translational Science Institutes (CTSIs) at the University of California Irvine (UCI) and University of Southern California (USC) with strong support from the Biomedical Informatics Research Network (BIRN). The pilot system developed enables capture and sharing of standardized, de-identified clinical brain images across institutions via a federated database system.