Patients anxiously await return of radiology services
May 13, 2020
OTTAWA – COVID-19 has emerged as the largest health crisis of our time. To date, millions of individuals have been affected, causing hundreds of thousands of fatalities in nearly 200 countries around the world.
While Canada has taken strong action toward preventing further spread of COVID-19, radiologists are concerned for patients who are anxiously awaiting lifesaving medical imaging procedures. The Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) established a National Task Force to tackle how radiology services can be resumed while ensuring the safety of patients and healthcare professionals.
Since the inception of the pandemic many non-essential procedures have been postponed, causing patients to live in uncertainty regarding their health and wellbeing. Dr. Jean Seely (pictured), president, Canadian Society of Breast Imaging, and radiologist at the Ottawa Hospital describes the situation as critical. “Once we have established necessary precautions to avoid spreading COVID-19 infection, we must focus on diagnosing and treating all our patients.”
Prior to COVID-19 there was already a significant backlog in medical imaging across the country. This is cause for concern in radiology. “While the health and safety of Canadians is our number one priority, imaging will have to resume in a safe and measured way. The resumption of diagnostic imaging needs to happen in a planned, efficient and safe manner, so as not to overwhelm the healthcare system and our healthcare workers,” said Dr. Bill Anderson, chair of the CAR’s Task Force on the Radiology, Resumption of Clinical Service.
There is still a lot of anxiety about the (COVID-19) safety of hospitals and clinics – the report provides support to substantiate that radiology services will be ready and prepared to receive patients. Healthcare workers are also anxious given the variation in safety protocols and availability of PPE. We have provided additional guidance on how to instil patients with confidence to attend their medical imaging visit.
Working with our partner organizations (CAMRT, CAIR, CSTR, CSBI, CANM, Sonography Canada, COMP and with support from CADTH), CAR representatives from each province have published a document to provide guidance on how to safely resume medical imaging services when provinces deem it safe to do so.
The overview of patient safety, triaging, cleaning protocols, human resource and communications planning references the latest published (peer-reviewed) reports from areas of the world that have already begun to resume services. The goal is to provide guidance to help facilitate the ramping-up of medical imaging in a safe and productive manner.
As the spread of COVID-19 begins to decline in Canada, and provincial authorities give the green light, medical imaging will be ready with this additional guidance to ensure that Canadians receive the care they need.
Read the full Radiology Resumption of Clinical Service Report found on car.ca.