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3 Ways to Import Your Imaging Research Data into Flywheel


Before your research can get going in Flywheel, there’s one obvious step—your data has to get into the platform. Depending on the type and amount of data you’re looking to import, there are a few different ways to approach this (all with built-in de-identification). Our team is ready to help you determine the best choices, but here’s a quick overview of the options for importing your imaging research data:  

1. Connect an imaging device directly to Flywheel

This method is ideal for core facilities or other organizations that create high volumes of medical imaging data on an ongoing basis. Our Flywheel Connector can interface directly with your facility’s scanners so that every new scan is uploaded to Flywheel via HTTPS. 

We can also create opt-in and opt-out configurations for your organization so that researchers can select exactly which sessions they want to send to Flywheel at the scanner’s console. When scans arrive in Flywheel, their metadata is used to automatically organize them. 

2. Upload data directly to Flywheel

Flywheel’s direct upload capabilities are a great option for researchers working on projects like longitudinal studies that require periodic transfers of smaller amounts (<200 MB) of data, such as a case upload. A powerful efficiency booster is built in: when you upload DICOM files, Flywheel reads the header information to gather metadata and automatically organize your files. Manually uploading and organizing files and metadata of any type is also possible. 

3. Use our command-line interface (CLI)

The Flywheel CLI is the best way to import large amounts of historical data. For example, if you want to move data from a PACS or XNAT, you (or your site administrator) can use the CLI to move it in bulk. Just like with a direct case upload, Flywheel can read headers on these files to automatically gather metadata and sort the files into the right containers. 

Each command for importing is designed for different filetypes or directory structures, including:

  • DICOM and PAR/REC files
  • Data organized in the BIDS or Bruker standard
  • Data downloaded from another Flywheel site
  • Any folder of data following consistent location and naming conventions.

Import your imaging research data with help from Flywheel

You’ll find more information on all of these data import methods, plus a helpful comparison table, in our User Guide

Not sure if one of these methods will fit your situation? Do you need Flywheel to integrate with a third-party database to import data? Rest assured that our team is here to help configure, sync, connect, import, and whatever else is necessary to get you going on your research. Contact us to find out more.