CADTH Report Provides Clear Picture on Medical Imaging Equipment in Canada

Monday, April 16, 2018

Halifax, NS (April 16, 2018) — New data released by CADTH shows a rise in the number of diagnostic imaging machines that are available across Canada, with the sharpest increases in Ontario and Quebec.

Information on six types of medical imaging modalities was provided voluntarily by public and private health care administrators through CADTH’s second biennial Canadian survey. CADTH published the data in its Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory and covers the following specialty imaging technologies:

  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography (SPECT)
  • Positron emission tomography–computed tomography (PET-CT)
  • Single-photon emission computed tomography-computed tomography (SPECT-CT) and,
  • Positron emission tomography–magnetic resonance imaging (PET-MRI).

“Ensuring appropriate and timely access to medical imaging services is fundamental to ensuring Canadians receive high quality care from their health care system,” says Dr. Brian O’Rourke, CADTH President and CEO. “The Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory provides the clearest information yet on what types of machines are available in different provinces or territories and will help determine where new imaging machines or upgrades are required to better meet patient need.”

Today in Halifax at the 2018 CADTH Symposium, CADTH will present and livestream a special session on the inventory, with a range of experts who will delve deeper into the results. CADTH’s report represents Canada’s most complete and current record of medical imaging equipment and includes summaries of the data for each province and territory.

“As imaging technologies rapidly advance, there is a continual need for an updated picture to help decision makers understand the evolution of medical imaging, the influence of emerging technologies and the expansion of clinical applications and population needs,” added Dr. O’Rourke.

Key Findings

  • Every province has at least one CT machine and it’s the most common, with 561 machines in Canada — up from 419 a decade prior and representing an approximate 35% growth.
  • Although an increase was observed, the CT machine actually experienced the slowest rate of growth compared to the other machines studied, which may be due to market saturation.
  • The number of CT exams being performed increased, with 5.61 million exams completed in 2017, up from 3.38 million in 2007.
  • With a 65% increase in the number of machines, MRI is the second most common technology surveyed with 366 machines, up from 222 units in 2007.
  • There were 1.86 million MRI exams performed in 2017, up from 1 million in 2007.
  • SPECT was the only modality in the survey to show numbers dropping over the past 10 years. There were 330 SPECT machines accounted for in the 2017 data with trends suggesting that SPECT-CT machines are replacing SPECT machines. In fact, SPECT-CT experienced the fastest rate of growth compared to all other machines. 
  • There was a total of 261 SPECT-CT machines, 51 PET-CT machines, and 3 PET-MRI machines captured in the latest survey results. At this time, all 3 PET-MRI machines are located in Ontario and are being used solely for research purposes.
  • Most imaging equipment has been operating for 10 or fewer years, which is in line with the Canadian Association of Radiologists guidelines. SPECT is the exception, with 57.5% of units being more than 10 years old.

Evidence-to-Action Live from the CADTH Symposium: Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory

Date:             Monday, April 16, 2018
Location:       Halifax Convention Centre and via live stream
Time:             3:15 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. AT
Register:       Sign up here
Experts:        Karren Fader, President, Canadian Association of Medical Radiation Technologists
                     Susan Delaney, Senior Director, Diagnostic Imaging, Nova Scotia Health Authority
                     Tanya Dickie, Quality and Risk Coordinator, Health PEI
                     Dr. Harinda Wijeysundera, Vice-President, Medical Devices and Clinical Interventions, CADTH

Report:         In Brief – Summary of the Evidence
                     Executive Summary
                     Complete Report

CADTH assumed the responsibility to collect national statistics on imaging in 2015. Between 2001 and 2015, data was collected by various Canadian organizations. The pan-Canadian inventory is available open-access at


CADTH is an independent, not-for-profit organization responsible for providing Canada's health care decision-makers with objective evidence to help make informed decisions about the optimal use of drugs and medical devices in our health care system. CADTH receives funding from Canada's federal, provincial, and territorial governments, with the exception of Québec.

For further information: please contact: Andrea Tiwari, Marketing and Communications, 613 614 6863,