Quest for ethical algorithms in medical imaging

June 08, 2023

June 8, 2023

The National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBB) interviews Maryellen Giger, University of Chicago professor of radiology and lead contact researcher of the Medical Imaging and Data Resource Center (MIDRC), an NIBIB-funded data repository that was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic.

In the interview, Giger describes how the pandemic created “an urgent need to collect medical images and use AI to predict COVID-19 diagnosis, severity, and outcomes. To do that, we needed to create the infrastructure to collect, harmonize, and store huge amounts of images as well as associated clinical and demographic data. And so in August 2020, MIDRC was born.”

“The power of big data can only be fully realized once the data itself has been checked and curated,” says Giger, describing the high standards MIDRC has established for data collection, patient privacy, and countering bias. MIDRC has collected chest images from nearly 55,000 patients across the U.S., and these images have helped create 27 in-house algorithms for the detection, diagnosis, monitoring, and prognosis of COVID-19.

Giger concludes, “Even though the pandemic was the catalyst to build and launch MIDRC, it’s more than a repository of COVID-19 images. The collaborations and infrastructure that have been established provide a solid foundation for the creation of more medical imaging datasets and the development of AI algorithms for all sorts of use cases. The end of the COVID-19 pandemic doesn’t spell the end of MIDRC’s potential. With the infrastructure built, this could just be the beginning.”

Read the full NIBB interview here.

University of Chicago Medicine photo