Announcements Regarding Impact of COVID-19 Response on HIRO Operations (Updated 1/23/2021):   Read more

Impact of COVID-19 Response on HIRO Operations

In response to the COVID-19 health crisis, and in compliance with guidance from the UCM, BSD, and OCR, HIRO staff began working remotely effective Monday 3/16/2020. Per University/BSD guidance and the corresponding Phase 2 Research Resumption Plans, the HIRO will partially resume on-campus operations by adopting an asynchronous schedule for on-site personnel beginning Monday 6/15/2020: one HIRO staff member will be present in the medical center up to three days per week. The weekly schedule is posted below. The on-site staff member will be present during the HIRO's standard operating hours of 8AM to 4PM.

On-site schedule for the Week of 1/25/2021:

  • Tuesday 1/26
  • Wednesday 1/27
  • Thursday 1/28

The HIRO is available remotely via email (hirohelp [at] bsd [dot] uchicago [dot] edu), Microsoft Teams, and Zoom every day. Please note that the HIRO will not be available via our office phone during remote days.

While the HIRO currently plans to continue providing as many of its services as possible, this schedule may result in temporarily increased turnaround times and reduced availability for in-person consultations and support. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, and we appreciate your patience. The HIRO is dedicated to supporting UChicago Medicine's clinical research mission and maintaining the continuity of care for clinical trial patients and research subjects. We will continue to provide all imaging-related support and services, and we will post any changes or updates to our services here.

If you have any questions or urgent issues please page the HIRO's Technical Director at 4993.

University research continuity announcements:
BSD-specific Coronavirus guidance:
University Information for Resumption of Programs and Operations:

Impacts to Clinical Trial Services

Site surveys and equipment questionnaires: The HIRO will continue to complete any site surveys or questionnaires for new clinical trials in a timely fashion. Questionnaires that require the input of Managers, Team Leaders, or Clinical Engineering may require additional time to complete due to the limited availability of these individuals. Your patience is appreciated.

Tele-trainings for HIRO staff: The HIRO will continue to participate in any tele-trainings that may be required by a trial sponsor or CRO. Training documentation that requires a physical signature may be delayed.

Tele-trainings for clinical imaging personnel: The availability of clinical imaging personnel (imaging technologists, radiologists, etc.) to participate in tele-trainings for new clinical trials is severely limited. We will make every effort to secure the participation of the necessary personnel as required, but please anticipate delays.

Test scans: Trials that require test scans or qualification scans using calibration equipment ("phantom scans") will be subject to resource and personnel availability. We will make every effort to perform these types of test scans as needed, but please anticipate delays. Test scans that require human volunteers will continue to be placed on hold.

Image data requests: The HIRO will continue to process requests to submit image data to CROs or imaging core labs in a timely fashion. We will also make every effort to continue to process requests for basic science and investigator-initiated projects. Please be aware that, due to an increase in the number of large image data requests, we are experiencing delays in completing and delivering data for investigator-initiated requests. We appreciate your patience, and we ask that you please plan accordingly. Requests that can be delivered electronically to the research team (via CRI lab shares, folders, etc.) or to an imaging core lab will be completed within our standard turnaround times. Requests that require physical media (for example, requests to burn a scan to a CD or copy data to a portable hard drive) will resume while following all appropriate social distancing and disinfection guidelines. Please contact the HIRO at hirohelp [at] bsd [dot] uchicago [dot] edu to schedule an exchange of physical media when required.

New study registrations and access requests: The HIRO will continue to process new study registration and access requests in a timely fashion.

Monitoring of clinical trial scans: The HIRO will continue to monitor the EPIC schedule for trial-related imaging procedures that require special instructions or resources. The availability of HIRO staff for in-person participation in or supervision of imaging procedures will be limited and reserved for procedures of sufficient complexity.

Query resolution: The HIRO will continue to respond to imaging-related queries and questions from sponsors and CROs in a timely fashion.

Designation of technical liaisons: Obtaining the signature of a PI on a HIRO Technical Liaison form may not be practical for many folks during this time. If a coordinator or other study staff need to be designated as a technical liaison for a PI, we will accept an email from the PI in lieu of the physically signed form. The person requesting technical liaison status should fill out the form electronically and forward it to the PI. The PI should then forward the form to the HIRO (hirohelp [at] bsd [dot] uchicago [dot] edu) and state that they approve of the request in the body of their email message. Upon receipt, the HIRO will process the request as normal.

Consultations: The HIRO will be available via email (hirohelp [at] bsd [dot] uchicago [dot] edu), Zoom, and Microsoft Teams for consultation if needed.

Impacts to Basic Science Services

Support and services for basic science research will continue only where such support can be provided remotely. This may include the collection, processing, and distribution of digital medical image data, and discussions/consultations with research teams via Zoom. In-person meetings and technical support will be suspended. The delivery of image data to investigators will be via electronic/online methods only; we are unable to provide image data via CD or portable media (USB drives, etc.) at this time. The initiation of new research projects will be considered with some limitations (COVID-19 related research will be prioritized). Please contact the HIRO's Technical Director for additional details or questions.

Images for the CRDW COVID-19 Data Mart

The Human Imaging Research Office is collaborating with the Center for Research Informatics's (CRI's) Clinical Research Data Warehouse (CRDW) Team to provide medical imaging data for their COVID-19 Limited Data Mart. Chest radiographs became available in the data mart on 27-May-2020. Chest CT scans became available in the data mart on 24-Jun-2020. Images are in DICOM format. Access to these images requires IRB approval for use of the CRDW limited data mart; studies which already have IRB approval will automatically be added to the image data mart. Please remember to add real dates and employee data to your IRB submission to access the limited data mart. For more details, please see the CRI's COVID-19 Resources page.

Imaging Exams Currently Available in the Data Mart (as of 20-Jan-2021)
Exam TypeNumber of Exams
Chest Radiographs82,042 exams
Chest CT Scans5,808 scans