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A Hotline and HOT Site – A Centralized Approach to Imaging During COVID-19


Model created by Yale effectively provides imaging services while protecting patients and staff.

Creating a hotline and “HOT” sites for radiology procedures during the COVID-19 pandemic has been an effective strategy for processing patients and minimizing viral transmission.

In an article published in Current Problems in Diagnostic Radiology, a team of investigators from Yale University School of Medicine and Yale New Haven Hospital shared their experience that streamlined radiology services while protecting staff and patients.

“This project provides efficient and reassuring radiology operations during an emergency situation by providing a single reliable point of contact and a source of truth for all facets of radiology,” said the team led by Jay K. Pahade, M.D., associate professor of radiology and biomedical imaging. “In doing so, we facilitate high quality patient centered care while protecting the health of our patients and staff.”

In March 2020, the team launched their hotline, staffed by radiologic technologists, scheduling staff, and two assistant chief radiologic technologists, to answer all radiology COVID-19-related questions and help schedule appointments. All X-rays were scheduled through the hotline to ensure proper screening, and any COVID-19-positive patient was seen at a “HOT” site.

Initially, the hotline was open 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a week. It has since been scaled back to a regular weekday schedule. During the first seven weeks, the hotline fielded 2,548 calls. Scheduling calls accounted for 92 percent, and radiology operation questions made up 6 percent. There were 371 “HOT” site visits, and 72 patients (19 percent) were positive for the virus at the time of scanning.

Although the model became operational at the beginning of the pandemic, it is a blueprint for similar efforts that may be needed during the resurgence of the virus. A plan now exists to encompass four different radiology practices and seven hospital sites across two states, the team said.

“We report the creation of a system wide centralized radiology call center and dedicated COVID-19 outpatient ‘HOT’ sites to effectively schedule, image, and answer radiology operational issues during the COVID-19 healthcare crisis,” the team said. “We facilitate high quality patient centered care while protecting the health of our patients and staff.”

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