Radiologists indicate high levels of anxiety due to COVID-19 protections

por John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | September 14, 2020

Nearly all respondents (99%) saw a decrease in their workload, with 60% seeing reductions greater than 50%. Almost 60% said their medical centers were no longer performing non-emergent imaging or procedures, and despite limited availability of PPE, 78% reported that being asked to or already performing duties outside their usual scope. The most common primary diagnostic approaches to PUI for COVID-19 were chest X-ray (46%) and RT-PCR (43%), though 16% were not aware of their medical center's primary screening modality. On a personal level, 86% felt they had adequate knowledge for interpreting COVID-19-related images.

Another decrease was seen in overall income among 56%, though 60% expected less than 25% change. A small number (11%) experienced partial or complete layoffs due to the outbreak, and one third said it would take more than two months to return to normal capacity after transitioning back to usual business routines.

The majority of respondents (84%), however, felt responses from their medical center’s leadership were appropriate, and 72% indicated their leadership was providing them with adequately frequent updates regarding the pandemic.

More than 77% felt their perception of the medical center’s ability to handle future public health concerns were either unchanged or positively impacted by the pandemic. The most frequently cited anticipated effects on future clinical practice included heightened awareness of infection control (62%); increased remote work options (52%); and increased use of telecommunication (49%).

“The challenges faced by U.S. radiologists will undoubtedly continue to evolve as the numbers of COVID-19 cases continue to rise,” wrote the authors. “Notable areas of future research include investigations into institutional policies surrounding the use of imaging in COVID-19, economic impact as practices continue to adjust to decreased revenues, and provisions to support radiologists working remotely in times of crisis and demand.”

The findings were published in Clinical Imaging.

The authors did not respond for comment.

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