Mount Sinai Creates Imaging Research Warehouse

May 25, 2017
The Mount Sinai Health System in New York has created a database that integrates clinical imaging with electronic health records to allow researchers to identify new patterns in the data.

The Mount Sinai Health System in New York has created a database that integrates clinical imaging with electronic health records. The health system said that as the database expands it would give researchers new access to information about more than 1 million Mount Sinai patients.

The images and corresponding health records are de-identified. Mount Sinai investigators from all areas of medicine can delve into any group of images from anonymous Mount Sinai patients with specific diseases or conditions to explore patterns and traits.  By comparing thousands of similar images, they can find new features among those patient groups that they didn’t know existed in hopes of identifying potential similarities in genetics or blood markers, that could lead to diagnostic techniques and cures.

In a written statement, Zahi Fayad, Ph.D., director of the Mount Sinai Translational and Molecular Imaging Institute, called the image database “uncharted territory for our scientists, and we are excited to give our imaginations free rein to explore imaging for the first time and think without boundaries.” By having this imaging data available, we can find new patterns of disease and new ways to diagnose and develop new treatments.”

Mount Sinai said the imaging research warehouse (IRW), which is supported by a National Institutes of Health pilot program, would bring significant advances to many diverse aspects of medicine, including mammography, prostate cancer, neuro-degenerative diseases, bowel disease, spine injuries, and genomics.  

The IRW also has the potential to streamline the way radiologists read and collect data in the future, the health system said. Feeding this large data set into machine learning algorithms, for example, would allow radiologists to use specialized software to help evaluate images for known abnormalities.  This may allow for new and more accurate imaging techniques, such as shorter MRIs and CT scans, which will optimize imaging, streamline procedures, and elevate the patient experience.

 “This model fills a gap in the new world of healthcare ‘big data.’ The data contained within patients’ radiological images is hard to make use of, and this warehouse is the solution to expose this information for analysis,” said David Mendelson, M.D., vice chair of radiology for the Mount Sinai Health System, in a prepared statement.

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