Non-Emergent Imaging, Point-of-Care Ultrasound, Pandemic Lessons, and Pediatric Teleradiology

May 8, 2020

Diagnostic Imaging's Weekly Scan: May 8, 2020.

Welcome to Diagnostic Imaging’s Weekly Scan. I’m Whitney Palmer, Senior Editor. We’re back with you this week with the latest updates on the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact on the radiology industry.

This week the American College of Radiology hosted an expert panel and published guidance in the Journal of the American College of Radiology on how you can best prepare to re-open your offices and facilities to non-emergent imaging. They touched on many aspects of maintaining both your safety and that of your patients. For safety precautions, they suggested screening protocols for patients and anyone entering your building, strategies for the best use and allocation of personal protective equipment, and social distancing. In addition, they suggested a categorization system to help you determine which postponed imaging scans will be the most important to tackle first, as well as changes you can implement to your workflow that can help you process the backlog of imaging studies waiting for you.

Although chest CT and chest X-ray have been widely discussed as the preferred imaging modalities for the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers from the Yale School of Medicine discussed reasons to opt for point-of-care ultrasound instead in the journal Academic Emergency Medicine. Not only can implementing ultrasound at the bedside help rule out other possible pulmonary diseases, but it can also facilitate better venous access and pinpoint additional cardiac complications. And, if one clinician wears the appropriate personal protective equipment, disinfects the machine between scans, and navigates between patients, the risk of COVID-19 transmission can be better controlled. Overall, they said, the findings gathered from point-of-care ultrasound will be beneficial clinically no matter the results.

This viral outbreak is, without a doubt, the most significant health event of our lifetime. However, it’s not the first time our global society has been threatened with a highly contagious virus. And, according to experts in the field, there are lessons that radiology leadership can learn from those past pandemics that can lead to greater success today. In theJournal of the American College of Radiology, investigators outlined take-away messages that can bolster the response your practice or center has to this outbreak. They advocated for clear, concise communication of necessary information, expressing gratitude to front-line staff rather than praise, and maintaining an attitude of compassion for personnel who made unintended errors during such a stressful time.

The larger conversation this week about opening various parts of the country was also a reminder that there are still other aspects of radiology that are important to monitor. In a contributed column to Diagnostic Imaging, Dr. Susan Harvey, Vice President of Global Medical Affairs, Breast & Skeletal Health Division, for Hologic, Inc., shared guidance on the impact that artificial intelligence tools has had and will continue to have on mammography. In addition to improving breast density assessment and reducing the size of imaging files, she pointed to future benefits in greater detection and the development of new risk models as advancements on the horizon.

But, back to COVID-19. This week Diagnostic Imaging had the opportunity to talk with both Dr. Brian Coley, radiologist-in-chief at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital and Dr. Anthony Gabriel, chief operating officer of Radiology Partners about the role of teleradiology and its impact on pediatric imaging during the pandemic. They discussed the ways teleradiology has helped accommodate imaging and study interpretation for the youngest patients, as well as the long-term impacts these changes might bring about. Here’s what they had to say.