Research imaging in an academic medical center

Acad Radiol. 2012 Jun;19(6):762-71. doi: 10.1016/j.acra.2012.02.002. Epub 2012 Apr 4.


Rationale and objectives: Managing and supervising the complex imaging examinations performed for clinical research in an academic medical center can be a daunting task. Coordinating with both radiology and research staff to ensure that the necessary imaging is performed, analyzed, and delivered in accordance with the research protocol is nontrivial. The purpose of this communication is to report on the establishment of a new Human Imaging Research Office (HIRO) at our institution that provides a dedicated infrastructure to assist with these issues and improve collaborations between radiology and research staff.

Materials and methods: The HIRO was created with three primary responsibilities: 1) coordinate the acquisition of images for clinical research per the study protocol, 2) facilitate reliable and consistent assessment of disease response for clinical research, and 3) manage and distribute clinical research images in a compliant manner.

Results: The HIRO currently provides assistance for 191 clinical research studies from 14 sections and departments within our medical center and performs quality assessment of image-based measurements for six clinical research studies. The HIRO has fulfilled 1806 requests for medical images, delivering 81,712 imaging examinations (more than 44.1 million images) and related reports to investigators for research purposes.

Conclusions: The ultimate goal of the HIRO is to increase the level of satisfaction and interaction among investigators, research subjects, radiologists, and other imaging professionals. Clinical research studies that use the HIRO benefit from a more efficient and accurate imaging process. The HIRO model could be adopted by other academic medical centers to support their clinical research activities; the details of implementation may differ among institutions, but the need to support imaging in clinical research through a dedicated, centralized initiative should apply to most academic medical centers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Academic Medical Centers / organization & administration*
  • Biomedical Research / organization & administration*
  • Chicago
  • Diagnostic Imaging*
  • Radiology / organization & administration*