Data Impact Challenge Question 2

Question 2:  What is the rate of repeated diagnostic imaging tests within a 90-day period?

At the health system level, we are not sufficiently informed about the nature of diagnostic imaging occurring across all settings in Canada, or the appropriateness of the current utilization patterns. This question examines some foundational information gaps relating to this issue: the total volume of imaging activity happening across public and private testing facilities and all settings, and the frequency with which tests are repeated. Note: it is understood that sometimes repeated tests are required for clinical reasons, while other times they are repeated because earlier results are not readily available.


Through the Data Impact Challenge, six submissions were received in response to this question. The first submission was received within six weeks from the Challenge launch date. Four of the submissions collected data from Ontario populations, while three collected data from Alberta. The scope of testing ranged from outpatient to inpatient and ambulatory exams, with three submissions focusing solely on CT and MRI testing. The aggregate sample size for all submissions was approximately 123 million diagnostic imaging tests.

Guiding Specifications

Numerator: Number of times a patient has the same diagnostic imaging exam (public and private across all settings) for a specific geographic area or patient population within 90 days.
Denominator: Total number of diagnostic imaging exams (public and private across all settings) for the same specific geographic area or patient population.
Sample: Minimum sample size of 100,000 exams. Sample must represent a defined geographic area or patient population, and include all tests conducted for that population (public and private, inpatient and outpatient).
Timeframe: Analysis should include at least one year of data, which is no more than five (5) years old.

Participating Teams

Alberta Health Data Geeks

Team bio: Team of analysts from Alberta Health Methods and Analysis unit providing analysis to support healthcare decisions within Alberta and beyond.
Entry: PDF


Alberta Laboratory Utilization Office

Team bio: The Alberta Health Services Laboratory Utilization Office provides data support and analyses regarding ‎laboratory test utilization in Alberta, and is a researchers and operational leaders.
Entry: PDF


ATC Reporting and Analytics Team

Team bio: A dynamic team of quirky individuals focused on reporting and analysis of surgery and diagnostic imaging wait times and efficiency data.
Entry: PDF



Team bio: Team Avengers comprises of scientists, analysts and epidemiologists from the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences (ICES).
Entry: PDF



Team bio: The FredSquare team work for Alberta Health in the Health Analytics Branch with several years experience in health data analytics.
Entry: PDF


Ottawa Hospital Performance Management

Team bio: This team is a dynamic, deductive, data-loving performance measurement team, specialized in analytics & research for health system improvement.
Entries: PDF


Western Π-rates

Team bio:We are an interdisciplinary team of physicians, biostatisticians, and epidemiologists with a vision to create information that increases healthcare efficiency and improves patient safety.
Entries: PDF