Scheduling & Scanner Policies

Sections

*Current Policies may vary or be superseded during COVID-19 ramp-up. Please see this page for up-to-date-info

 

Safety Information

Safety Manuals and Guidelines

Scheduling Time on the Scanner

Scheduling Scanner Time

Handing off to the next group 

Cancellation Policy 

Pilot Data

Testing Time 

Billing

Current Billing Rates

RA Training

RA Training Guidelines

Data Access Policy

Data Access

Distribution of Images

Test Data

Data Retention

 

Beginning an MRI Study

The MRI Unit is here to assist with every step of beginning a study. Please see this page for more in depth explanations of pulse sequences and scanner hardware resources

Study Design 

  • Structural Pulse Sequence Design
  • Functional Pulse Sequence Design
  • Spectroscopy Pulse Sequence Design
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) Pulse Sequence Design
  • Assistance with grant MRI methods section
  • Assistance with statistical planning

Experimental Stage

  • Schedule MRI scans
  • Bill MRI scans
  • Running MRI console
  • On-call management of scanner malfunction and clinical issues
  • Maintenance of MRI scanner
  • Checking equipment

Safety Manuals and Guidelines

All MRI Safety rules and guidelines must be adhered to at all times.

Safety forms and screeners are located on this page

Click here for current COVID-19 Ramp-Up MRI Guidelines

Click here for the most up-to-date MRI Safety Manual

Click here for tattoo policy flowchart

Click here for surgical implant flowchart

Safety Reads - the MRI unit will send structural MRIs to be interpreted by a neuroradiologist as requested by scan groups. The frequency at which this is done for individual subjects and interval between same-subject reads is determined by individual scan groups and their protocol(s). For IRB guidance with regard to neuroreads, please see https://irb.nyspi.org/investigators/guidance/mri-gudelines

Scheduling Scanner Time

The MRI Calendar is available online at http://nyspi.calpendo.com

If you are using Calpendo for the first time, please “Register as a new user” - Groups' projects will be added to Calpendo once they are officially approved by the imaging director. 

Scanner time is available seven days a week, excluding some holidays. The hours are 8am-8pm Monday-Friday (scan time is also available from 8pm-midnight with advanced scheduling, pending operator availability) and 9am-5pm on weekends (extended weekend hours may be negotiated on a per-case basis), as well as some holidays, pending operator availability. We will make every effort to accommodate same-day scheduling, however same-day scan slots scheduled during evening hours (after 6pm) may be subject to operator availability.  

Groups may appoint one or more people as the responsible part for scheduling scanner time for a group and/or project, with the written approval of the project’s Primary Principal Investigator.

Projects will be allotted a pre-allocated number of hours each month. Once a group has exceeded their calendar allotment, they may request additional time with valid reasoning, subject to approval by the Imaging Director.  Allocations will be primarily determined based on two factors: an overall expected rate of scan for the project, and a fair distribution of available time to all active scanning groups. Priority may be given to scans based on grant deadlines and/or funding source. 

The calendar availability is open 2 months in advance, with new months available at 8am on the first day of each month on a first-come, first-serve basis. (i.e. December slots are available September 1st) Slots booked before this time will be automatically declined.

Handoff & Scanner Etiquette 

Scan groups will be granted access to the scanner / experiment area at the beginning of their scheduled scan time. Scheduled scan time includes both participant & equipment setup, as well as equipment breakdown & participant removal from scanner. If additional setup or breakdown time is needed, please factor this into the amount of scan time scheduled. Groups are expected to be mindful & respectful of other groups' time and participant(s). Please do not enter the experiment / scanner area before your scheduled time unless the preceding group has granted permission to do so. 

Please be mindful that the scanner is a shared resource. Groups will be expected to be completely clear of the scanner / setup area no later than the end of their scheduled scan time. If additional time is needed, the active scanning group must receive permission from the following scheduled group to use additional time, without exception. We understand that there may on occasion be situations during a scan session that prevent a group from acquiring a full data set. Depending on the cause and circumstances, and at the MRI unit's discretion, we will work with groups to determine how to proceed with rescheduling a participant when possible, as well as any modifications to billing if deemed necessary. 

Cancellations

Scans must be cancelled 4 calendar days in advance to avoid paying a cancellation fee. For the purpose of scheduling, days refers to calendar days (including weekends), and not hours. This is to ensure adequate time for other scan groups to find a participant and use the slot. Scans cancelled within the first 3 days of the 4-Day window will be charged one half of the hourly rate for each hour cancelled. Scans cancelled on the day of the scan will be charged the full rate.

If a group schedules and cancels a scan within the 4 day cancellation window, i.e, a group books a scan on a Monday for a scan session on Friday of that week, and then cancels before the Friday, they will not be penalized. If the group cancels the scan day-of in this circumstance, they will be charged half of the hourly rate.

If a group schedules a same-day scan session and cancels before the time of the scan they will not be charged a cancellation penalty. 

A utilization ratio will be automatically calculated for each group based on the number of cancellations vs. actual scans. If a group’s cancellation rate exceeds 25% of their total scheduled time, their hour allotment for the next open month will be reduced by one half of their cancellation rate. (i.e., if a group cancels 30% of their scans for the month, their allotment will be reduced by 15% for the next month that opens) – This reduction is temporary, and will be reviewed on a monthly basis. 

 

Pilot Data

All new studies will be granted one initial scan under the protocol, to be designated a "pilot" scan, at no charge, to ensure their study starts off and runs as intended, and to verify that proper time has been allocated for session length. This is not the same as testing time. Pilot data should be collected on a subject consented under a study protocol as part of the study cohort or control group. After the initial pilot scan, subsequent scans under a protocol should be scheduled as paid scan time. Pilot scans are not the same as "testing time." Scans intended to work out bugs, optimize sequences, test paradigms and equipment, etc., should be scheduled as testing time (see section below). 

Testing Time

All requests for testing that will require blocking off scanner time, regardless of purpose, must be approved by Dr. Rachel Marsh. Please submit the following when requesting a test – The purpose of the test, who or what is being scanned, as well as said subject's role within the scanning group, if applicable. Subjects scanned for testing purposes should be consented under IRB 7672R, Modification of MRI Pulse Sequences. All testing should be scheduled during the 8am-9am slot or 7pm-8pm slots when possible. Any requests for testing during other time slots will be granted only if the time is still vacant at 5pm the day before the proposed test, unless an exception is granted in writing. Images and other data obtained during testing time are intended for the purposes of optimizing pulse sequences, acquisition methods, and analysis techniques for a given study and may not be included in project-related data sets for publication. All test scan images and data will be made available to other researchers via the “test” project in XNAT. Paid scans will be given priority over testing, and a test slot may be cancelled (with at least 24 hour notice) should a group request the time for a paid scan. Groups who request excessive testing time for a project may be asked to provide justification, or to contact MRI staff & faculty for help optimizing and/or troubleshooting. 

If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us, and we’ll be happy to help as best we can. We realize that last minute circumstances may arise, experiment code bugs, issues, etc., can happen, and exceptions may be granted on a case-by-case basis. 

 

Billing & Rates

Costs for RFMH applications: $625/hour + $60 neuroradiology reading per subject 

Costs for non-RFMH* applications: $725/hour + $60 neuroradiology reading per subject 

Costs for Industry Sponsored Contracts: $1225/hour + $60 neuroradiology reading per subject

Annual 3% increase is to be included in budget for subsequent years.
*If the CU source of funding is not an NIH grant, please speak to Janelle to make additional arrangements

Ongoing Studies will continue at the agreed upon rates. 

Joe will generate billing sheets for each group and a copy will be sent to the group's designated administrator. 

 

RA Training Guidelines

  • All RAs must attend RA safety training course - held once a month. Email mriunit@nyspi.columbia.edu to sign up
  • After course is completed RA receives a yellow badge to put on their NYSPI ID
  • A yellow badge allows access to the MRI suite, but only under supervision of RA with a green badge
  • RA with a yellow badge must attend 3 separate scanning sessions before receiving a green badge
  • Technologist and RA with a green badge must sign off on each of these scans
  • Lastly, RA must complete an RA safety quiz in order to receive a green badge
  • Contact MRI Unit administrator at mriunit@nyspi.columbia.edu for quiz
  • RAs with a green badge allowed entry to the MRI suite and can run a scan with the technologist
  • RA training form can be found: nyspi.org/mri/forms

 

Data Access Policy

All imaging data acquired by the NYSPI MRI Research Program will have no identifying information or Protected Health Information (PHI) resident in the image header(s). At no point may an Investigator request that images be acquired or created with PHI or other identifying information resident in the scan data. All subjects must have a pre-assigned ID for the scan session that may not use any permutation or derivation of the subject’s Protected Health Information, including names, initials, dates of birth, or any other information designated as key identifiers/PHI by the United States Department of Health and Human Services as outlined in the following: 

http://www.hhs.gov/ocr/privacy/hipaa/understanding/coveredentities/De-identification/guidance.html

Distribution of Images

All images acquired by NYSPI MRI under a signed IRB consent form for a specific protocol are the property of the primary Principal Investigator as listed on the IRB Protocol. After each scan session for a specific protocol, the image data will be transferred to the XNAT neuroimaging database via encrypted transmission, and hosted on a secure server at NYSPI. The image data may only be distributed directly to the XNAT project on the account of the Principal Investigator as named in the IRB protocol for the specific scan session.

There are no exceptions to this policy. An investigator may, at his or her discretion, freely request data access in writing for whomever they wish. NYSPI MRI will facilitate and grant access to a study's imaging data only with written approval from the primary PI for the study. XNAT user accounts may be created for all Principal Investigators as well as their collaborators; however we will only transmit data directly to the corresponding XNAT project tied to the Principal Investigator’s account for the specific scan session

Test Data

Any data acquired for quality control or testing purposes and not specifically designated as pilot data for an IRB protocol (please note, studies are granted ONE free pilot scan for a study, any further scans collected under a protocol must be designated as paid scans or scheduled as tests and subjects consented under the Optimization of MRI Pulse Sequences, IRB Protocol 7672R) must be made freely available to any other researchers who would like to use it for evaluating processing methods, etc., unless a special exemption is granted in writing by the current director of the MRI Research Program. Test data acquired in this manner may not be used as part of a data set for a published study.

Data Retention

The MRI Scanning Console has a limited amount of storage space for images and console performance is greatly affected by the number of images in the console database, therefore we are able to retain exams and their respective images for a maximum of one week on the console, after which point the exams will be cleared to create additional space. We ask that all groups check their exam status on XNAT for any missing data or file(s) and notify us within this period following any scanning session so that we can make every effort to recover any missing data. Transferred images will be stored indefinitely on XNAT. 

Additionally, certain scan types (MRS, for example) generate additional P-Files that are transferred to a secondary server following a scan session. Groups are asked to verify this secondary transfer following their scan session as well as retrieve these files as soon as possible. Missing P-files have a limited window of recovery due to their temporary status on the console, so we ask that groups make every effort to check P-files within one week of a scan session. 

For any questions regarding data transfer and policy, please email matthew.riddle@nyspi.columbia.edu

 

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