Getting a Better Picture of Canada’s Medical Imaging Inventory

CADTH has released a preview of the results from its Canadian Medical Imaging Inventory (CMII) survey, a national survey of imaging facilities across Canada. The Evidence Preview report offers a snapshot of the state of Canada’s advanced medical imaging capacity, which includes CT units, MRI units, PET-CT units, single photon emission computed tomography (SPECT) units, SPECT-CT units, and PET-MRI units.

This report is the first in a series that CADTH will publish between now and April 2024. Subsequent reports will provide jurisdiction-level information for each modality as well as provincial and territorial summaries.

Results from the CMII survey show that the numbers of advanced imaging equipment in Canada are generally increasing:

  • CT units, available in all provinces and territories, increased by 6.7% from 510 in 2012 to 544 in 2022–2023.
  • MRI units, available in all provinces and 1 territory, increased 30.8% from 308 units in 2021 to 403 units in 2022–2023.

Additionally, Canada’s medical imaging equipment is aging. One-third of CT and MRI units, more than one-quarter of PET-CT units, nearly three-quarters of SPECT units, and nearly half of SPECT-CT units are at least 10 years old. Guidelines from the Canadian Association of Radiologists recommend that the maximum life expectancy and clinical relevance for any aging equipment should not exceed 15 years.

Adopting Technological Innovation

Innovation and new advancements in medical imaging continue to emerge rapidly. As health systems struggle to meet the increasing demand for imaging services, and with the expanding role of medical imaging in guiding treatment and interventional procedures, there is growing interest in technological innovations that can increase capacity and speed up diagnoses. The survey examines some of these developments:

  • Portable imaging equipment can allow for more immediate imaging in different settings. Canada has 4 portable CT units in 3 provinces, and at least 4 portable MRI units in 3 provinces.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI) may improve efficiency, and the number of sites using AI for CT has grown by 108.5%, from 47 sites to 98.
  • Clinical decision tools that may help reduce low-value care have yet to be widely adopted in Canada.

What’s Next

Subscribe to The CADTH Dispatch to be notified when the following CMII reports are published:

  • An Overview of Medical Imaging Across Canada 2022–2023
  • CT in Canada 2022–2023
  • MRI in Canada 2022–2023
  • PET-CT and PET-MRI in Canada 2022–2023
  • SPECT and SPECT-CT in Canada 2022–2023
  • The Medical Imaging Team
  • provincial and territorial summaries.