Melinda Taschetta-Millane, Editorial Director
Melinda Taschetta-Millane, Editorial Director
Blog | Melinda Taschetta-Millane, Editorial Director | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 08, 2020

The Pandemic’s Toll on Radiology

Signs for "Heroes work here" outside healthcare facilities and even the homes of clinicians have popped up across the country. This photo shows healthcare workers at the Lenox Health emergency room entrance being greeted to cheers and thanks for their essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City at a public thank you event May 21, 2020.

Signs for "Heroes work here" outside healthcare facilities and even the homes of clinicians have popped up across the country. This photo shows healthcare workers at the Lenox Health emergency room entrance being greeted to cheers and thanks for their essential service during the COVID-19 pandemic in New York City at a public thank you event May 21, 2020.

Radiology, like all the departments in hospitals and clinics, has undergone significant changes since early-2020, namely a large reduction in procedure volumes and in finding new ways to communicate with patients via telehealth.

Ajay J. Kirtane, M.D., Columbia University Irving Medical Center and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital, stated what most clinicians in all of the ‘ologies who have been on the front line of the pandemic are feeling during a recent virtual meeting for the Society of Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions (SCAI). “Until things hit close to home, we really had no idea what we were in for. None of us could really have predicted how this would happen or how we could ever prepare for it. When people see pictures and they say that isn’t real, I assure you it was definitely real and it was horrific,” Kirtane explained. “We were simply overrun. We did not have enough PPE, and there were hospitals where nurses were actually wearing garbage bags. These are true stories. There was rationing of PPE, there were not enough N95 or even surgical masks to go around. Our hospital was overrun by COVID cases, where almost 90 percent of our patient volume was COVID only, so we had no room to accommodate any other disease processes in the hospital had we continued to operate business as usual.”

The economic implications of this pandemic also continue to take a toll. In “The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Radiology Practices” authored by Joseph J. Cavallo, published in Radiology, details the impact of COVID-19 on radiology. According to the article, “Radiology groups have never experienced an economic recession exacerbated by the simultaneous need to restrict the amount of imaging provided. This combination of events will severely stress the financial health of radiology groups throughout the country. Many practices will need to make short-term changes to survive this period and permanent changes to the radiology practice environment are likely in the long run.”

These potentially devastating effects could last for months — the authors of the article suggest a minimum of 3-4 months, during which radiology practices could see a volume decrease from 50-70 percent. The biggest service decrease was in screening radiology (mammography), which took a huge hit when all elective surgeries and procedures were put on hold, according to a new survey on imaging during the pandemic. Responses were tallied from around 170 radiology administrators and business managers, who are part of an imagePRO panel created by The MarkeTech Group (TMTG), regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business. You can read more about this study’s results in the July/August issue, here.

And, in parting, I’d like to introduce our newest column, Parting Thoughts. In this column, industry expert Jef Williams from Paragon Consulting shares his thoughts on data engagement to help guide readers through this rapidly changing industry.

Related Content

 Many patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) remain unresponsive after surviving critical illness. Investigators led by a team at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) now describe a patient with severe COVID-19 who, despite prolonged unresponsiveness and structural brain abnormalities, demonstrated functionally intact brain connections and weeks later he recovered the ability to follow commands

Getty Images

News | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 08, 2020
July 8, 2020 — Many patients with severe coronavirus disease 2019 (...
Several drivers will contribute to the growth of the teleradiology market in terms of penetration, revenue and read volumes over the next five years

Getty Images

Feature | Teleradiology | July 08, 2020 | By Arun Gill
Last year was a record year for the global...
Fujifilm’s Sonosite SII POC ultrasound system helps to keep crowded areas clearer with a small ultrasound footprint.

Fujifilm’s Sonosite SII POC ultrasound system helps to keep crowded areas clearer with a small ultrasound footprint.

Feature | Ultrasound Imaging | July 07, 2020 | By Joan Toth
With the miniaturization of technology, improved ease of use, lower system cost, increased portability and greater ac
This is Figure 2 from the article in Radiology: Acute encephalopathy. A 60 year-old-man without history of seizures presenting with convulsion. (A-B) Multifocal areas of FLAIR hyperintensity in the right cerebellum (arrows in A), left anterior cingular cortex and superior frontal gyrus (arrows in B). (C-D) Restricted diffusion in the left anterior cingulate cortex, superior frontal and middle temporal gyrus (arrows in D) and right cerebellum (arrows in E), consistent with cerebellar diaschisis. F)  #COVID19

This is Figure 2 from the article in Radiology: Acute encephalopathy. A 60 year-old-man without history of seizures presenting with convulsion. (A-B) Multifocal areas of FLAIR hyperintensity in the right cerebellum (arrows in A), left anterior cingular cortex and superior frontal gyrus (arrows in B). (C-D) Restricted diffusion in the left anterior cingulate cortex, superior frontal and middle temporal gyrus (arrows in D) and right cerebellum (arrows in E), consistent with cerebellar diaschisis. F) No hemosiderin deposits in gradient echo sequences.

Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 06, 2020 | Dave Fornell, Editor
Four recent radiology studies, from New York, Italy, Iran and China, show how...
A patient implanted with the Axonics System can undergo MRI examinations safely with radio frequency (RF) Transmit Body or Head Coil under the conditions outlined in the Axonics MRI Conditional Guidelines.

A patient implanted with the Axonics System can undergo MRI examinations safely with radio frequency (RF) Transmit Body or Head Coil under the conditions outlined in the Axonics MRI Conditional Guidelines.

News | Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) | July 02, 2020
July 2, 2020 — Axonics Modulation Technologies, Inc., a medical technology company that has developed and is commerci
This data represents wave 2 of a QuickPoLL survey conducted in partnership with an imagePRO panel created by The MarkeTech Group (TMTG), regarding the effects of COVID-19 on their business

Getty Images

Feature | Coronavirus (COVID-19) | July 01, 2020 | By Melinda Taschetta-Millane
A 3-D ultrasound system provides an effective, noninvasive way to estimate blood flow that retains its accuracy across different equipment, operators and facilities, according to a study published in the journal Radiology.

Volume flow as a function of color flow gain (at a single testing site). For each row the color flow c-plane and the computed volume flow are shown as a function of color flow gain. The c-plane is shown for four representative gain levels, whereas the computed volume flow is shown for 12–17 steps across the available gain settings. Flow was computed with (solid circles on the graphs) and without (hollow circles on the graphs) partial volume correction. Partial volume correction accounts for pixels that are only partially inside the lumen. Therefore, high gain (ie, blooming) does not result in overestimation of flow. Systems 1 and 2 converge to true flow after the lumen is filled with color pixel. System 3 is nearly constant regarding gain and underestimates the flow by approximately 17%. Shown are mean flow estimated from 20 volumes, and the error bars show standard deviation. Image courtesy of the journal Radiology

News | Ultrasound Imaging | July 01, 2020
July 1, 2020 — A 3-D ultrasound