Early adopters make MIRC magic

December 5, 2002

The RSNA's Medical Imaging Resource Center (MIRC) software and documentation received rave reviews Thursday at the RSNA meeting. Several institutions have implemented the system setup for sharing images and educational information."MIRC represents an

The RSNA's Medical Imaging Resource Center (MIRC) software and documentation received rave reviews Thursday at the RSNA meeting. Several institutions have implemented the system setup for sharing images and educational information.

"MIRC represents an initiative by the RSNA to make it easier to locate and share electronic medical images," said Dr. Eliot Siegel, chair of the MIRC committee and director of radiology for the VA Maryland Health Care System.

The RSNA had originally promoted the MIRC project to develop a central repository for medical images. As the scope of the project grew, MIRC evolved into a virtual community of libraries that together provide content radiologists can easily search through on the Internet.

Institutions can participate in the MIRC project in several ways, said John Perry, MIRC's project manager. Departments can simply use the system, or they can become query service or storage service providers.

As query service providers, departments provide a type of proxy server through which users of the system can search for images. As a storage service provider, facilities add the content of their own teaching files to the virtual library community.

Wyatt Tellis, a postdoctoral student in biological and medical informatics at the University of California, San Francisco, was the first person outside of the RSNA to actually implement the MIRC system.

"The UCSF teaching file system acts as a MIRC storage service," he said.

One of the only snags in implementing the system, according to Tellis, was making sure the radiologists learned to flag those teaching files that could be released to the public.

"I found that because MIRC used well-established standards, integration was very straightforward," he said.

Stephen Moore, a research assistant professor of radiology at the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, said that it took only two days to set up the first prototype of the MIRC teaching file system at his facility. It took seven days to achieve a completely stable software setup.

Dr. Mark Frank, director of education at Indiana University School of Medicine, hopes to implement a MIRC storage service for his institution's teaching files soon.

"MIRC is wonderfully done. It is very inclusive and doesn't step on anybody's toes," he said.

At the end of the special focus session, Siegel challenged members of the audience, as well as all members of the radiology community, to continue to implement methods to take full advantage of MIRC and to add their share to the global radiology information community.

"The greatest resource of the medical imaging community by far is its incredible creativity," he said.