The University of Aberdeen chooses BridgeHead’s ICA
June 2020 by Marc Jacob
The University of Aberdeen’s world-leading clinical research imaging facility has chosen BridgeHead Software’s Independent Clinical Archive (ICA), HealthStore®, to collect, store and protect its clinical research data. Researchers in the University’s recently upgraded cutting-edge Biomedical Imaging Centre will be able to effectively manage medical images that drive understanding of the causes, mechanisms and consequences of conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis, stroke and Alzheimer’s disease ensuring better prevention, diagnostics and treatment.
Housed within the Foresterhill Health Campus, one of Europe’s largest clinical complexes with Aberdeen Royal Infirmary and the Children’s and Maternity Hospitals on site, the Biomedical Imaging Centre facilitates world-leading clinical imaging research and clinical trials.
As part of the recent development of a next generation MRI scanner, the Centre wanted to futureproof the collection, storage and retrieval of its research data. HealthStore offers a secure and standards-based repository for all clinical research imagery created. This will enable the multi-disciplinary team of radiographers, radiologists and physicists to securely access, view and analyse images, as and where they need to, on any approved device.
Dr Gordon Waiter, Senior Lecturer and Acting Director at the Aberdeen Biomedical Imaging Centre, explains: “We have a long history in MRI research and development and are now embarking on our next 10-year phase. This includes investment in both traditional imaging and in the next generation MRI scanner that provides clinicians and researchers with information about diseases that has not been available previously. However, this advance in technology simultaneously created a data management challenge, the images produced are often of higher resolution or dimension and can sit outside of the traditional DICOM format. As a result, it was becoming increasingly important that we future-proofed the storage and retrieval of the research data to ensure that it can be used successfully in future research.”
“BridgeHead’s HealthStore® will enable our researchers to move away from ineffective manual storage methods, eliminating data silos and protecting data from accidental loss or corruption. Acting as a single repository for all of the department’s clinical research and administrative data, the ICA will benefit us in all our studies going forward – giving the team the flexibility to securely store and protect everything from standard DICOM images to paper notes, PDFs and unstructured files.”
HealthStore also allows researchers to easily access and securely view the data at diagnostic quality, from any authorised device, providing the user has the appropriate permissions. This means the Biomedical Imaging Centre will be able to securely share clinical images amongst its community of life scientists – notably, the highest concentration of health and life scientists in Europe. It will also enable the University of Aberdeen to make anonymised participant data relating to any published studies available to the wider scientific community, something that medical researchers are increasingly being encouraged to do.
Dr Waiter continued: “By centrally storing our clinical research data, we’ll be able to easily access and view historical MRI scans and analyse them for changes, allowing us to quickly visualise patterns across studies that might continue for decades. HealthStore’s functionality means we can collate and link participants’ imaging data with other demographic and health data, giving our researchers a complete view of an individual. This not only helps us to fulfil our duty of care to the participant – in the case that during the study the team discovers an incidental finding that needs to be investigated by a healthcare professional – but also enables a better understanding of the important health challenges facing society today and leading the way to new discoveries that will have a transformational impact on medicine and the delivery of healthcare.”
“We are truly honoured to be working with the Biomedical Imaging team at the University of Aberdeen on this exciting project. As the first place in the world to build and conduct a whole body MRI scan, the University has an internationally-renowned reputation for the development of new techniques for medical imaging and BridgeHead is delighted to be a small part of the technological excellence and innovation the University is driving,” said Darrell Bailey, Senior Director of Sales, BridgeHead Software. “Data management has an important role to play in the effective sharing of research information. Through this partnership, we will provide a safe and long-term home for the clinical imagery produced by the Centre, helping the team of research scientists and clinical academics to investigate healthcare challenges and shape its future.”