The American College of Radiology (ACR) Center for Research and Innovation (CRI) is pleased to announce the development of the COVID-19 Imaging Research Registry (CIRR), an effort by the ACR CRI and the ACR Data Science Institute in collaboration with the ACR and the Society of Thoracic Radiology (STR). Sharyn Katz, MD, director of research for thoracic radiology at the University of Pennsylvania, chairs the effort’s multiple-disciplinary steering committee, which includes representation from across the imaging community as well as medical specialties focused on critical care and pulmonary medicine. 

This registry is a primary step to advance the understanding, prevention and treatment of COVID-19. It is a cross-disciplinary initiative with collaborations extending beyond radiology to engage other clinical experts and diagnostic modalities, including clinical medicine, genetics, biomarker discovery, laboratory sciences, and others. Participating sites will contribute demographic information, clinical data on signs and symptoms, imaging exams, laboratory test data, and outcomes for U.S. patients tested for COVID-19. The registry is being constructed to allow for linkage of information to other existing COVID-19 registries and datasets, with use and development of common data elements.

“This registry will support further COVID-19 research and data. We are thrilled to work with our participating sites to empower our members and their radiology practices and help improve the quality of care for these patients,” says Etta D. Pisano, MD, FACR, chief research officer of the ACR. 

“The data registry will integrate imaging and clinical data, thus enabling investigators to address crucial questions related to the diagnosis, treatment and management of patients with COVID-19 through collaborative efforts. The ultimate goal is to aid patients affected by this emerging disease,” says Jane P. Ko, MD, president of the STR.

The ACR CRI is prepared to leverage its extensive history in clinical research trials and observational studies, taking the next evolutionary step toward creating sustainable research data registries. The CIRR will provide fertile opportunity for discovery of new information about the clinical presentation and course of the virus in diverse populations across the United States. In addition, it will serve as a resource for the development and testing of artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms to be used to predict the course and severity of the disease in given populations and subpopulations and to develop early diagnosis models and potentially even targeted treatments. 

The ACR is also taking the necessary steps to allow clinicians to earn credit under the Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) by contributing data to this registry. Information collected from the registry can ultimately help practices make data-driven improvements in the quality of patient care. 

Data collection for CIRR is anticipated to begin July 2020. Sites interested in participating can learn more about the registry and obtain participation materials on

Featured image: Colorized scanning electron micrograph of an apoptotic cell (blue) heavily infected with SARS-CoV-2 virus particles (yellow), isolated from a patient sample. Image captured and color-enhanced at the NIAID integrated research facility in Fort Detrick, Md. Photo courtesy NIAID.