Kenneth Tomkovich, MD, of Princeton Radiology in Princeton, NJ, contributed this post.

Gathering a larger data set of images related to COVID-19 and to other medical challenges allows radiologists to share and pool their knowledge. This can lead to better patient care. I believe this has never been more important.

The New Jersey/New York area where I practice was hit hard by COVID-19. I had friends and colleagues in China who were already caring for COVID-19 patients when the virus reached my town. They had shared their imaging findings and experiences with me. I saw what to look for, so I was prepared — at least, as much as one can reasonably be for a worldwide pandemic.

I remember I was able to identify a patient very early on with COVID-19. I suggested to referring colleagues that they test the person and keep them away from others. The patient turned out to have COVID-19 — allowing them to know what they were dealing with and start treatment, and also greatly reduce the odds that other patients or staff would contract COVID-19 from this person. Doctors helping doctors in time of crises worked — in our practice — for our patients and staff — for our town.

Research registries like the American College of Radiology® (ACR®) COVID-19 Imaging Research Registry (CIRR) and the ACR National Clinical Imaging Research Registry (ANCIRR) allow providers to share such information on a global scale. This collaboration enables better future treatments and better future care. That is why I got involved.

You don’t have to be part of large health system to take part in clinical research and registries. You just have to want to do it. In fact, including community-based imaging data is a critical piece of the clinical research puzzle.

The pandemic has made us all more aware of our limitations as a medical community and of the need to continue to learn from each other and gather data on multiple fronts. To be offered the opportunity to take part in the CIRR registry was a chance I just could not pass up.

We all want to do something for the greater good. This registry — and future ACR registries — will give that opportunity to me, and it will allow radiologists the ability to share their knowledge and expertise with other physicians — and ultimately help save lives.

If you have been thinking about having your practice take part in clinical research, now is the time to act.

When we all work together, we can do great things.

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