In an effort to help radiologists make the safest, most informed decisions during the COVID-19 outbreak, the American College of Radiology (ACR) published guidance and resources Tuesday that can help providers offer the best patient care possible during the pandemic.
The ACR stressed the resources are not intended to be comprehensive medical guidelines.
As information about COVID-19 and its spread continues to emerge, radiologists are urged to operate under the following recommendations.
Reschedule Non-Urgent Care
In compliance with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the ACR supports rescheduling all non-urgent outpatient visits. This includes:
- Screening mammography
- Lung cancer screening
- Non-urgent CT
- Plain film X-ray exams
- Other non-emergent or elective radiologic and radiologically-guided exams and procedures
Work with referring physicians to review and reschedule exams.
To reduce the risk of transmission in breast imaging facilities, the ACR stressed that providers should remember these tactics:
- Social distancing — maintain at least six feet between individuals in waiting rooms and work spaces as much as possible
- Strictly follow procedures for cleaning and disinfecting equipment
- Hand-washing for technologists and radiologists between patients
- Longer times between appointments or increased scheduling intervals to allow adequate equipment cleaning
CT and X-ray for Suspected Cases
Don’t use CT as a first-line COVID19 diagnostic or screening tool, ACR officials said, following CDC guidance.
Instead, viral testing is required even if CT or X-ray scan reveal findings that are suggestive of COVID19.
Controlling On-Site Infection
To help control the infection risk, the ACR also provided these resources:
From Journal of American College of Radiology, Coronavirus (COVID-19) Outbreak: What the Department of Radiology Should Know
From the CDC, infection prevention guidance for healthcare professionals
From Radiology, best practices from industry experts
In addition to these resources, ACR officials said the organization with publish up-to-date information as it is made available.
“The ACR will keep members informed regarding future relevant actions that the medical and radiological communities may take that could help protect patients and providers from the coronavirus,” officials said in the statement.