June 9, 2020 — More than 75 percent of hospitals and imaging centers that perform mammography across the United States have resumed breast cancer screening operations and exam volumes are recovering rapidly, according to indications from VolparaEnterprise statistical data. The database of over 20 million aggregate, anonymized mammographic images is an invaluable tool for tracking utilization and monitoring image quality across Volpara's global customer base.
Analysis of mammography services during the COVID-19 pandemic shows that as restrictions on non-emergency healthcare services are easing, imaging facilities are expanding their hours and offering weekend appointments to manage the backlog of patients who were unable to attend their regularly scheduled screening dates. Exam volumes in many sites have returned to within 10 percent of pre-pandemic levels. A small group of facilities, about five percent, are recording exam volumes higher than previous levels.
Mammography screening has been strongly impacted by shutdowns related to COVID-19, with estimates placing the downturn in overall outpatient imaging procedures at nearly 70 percent. Volpara is working with customers to help them prepare for increased patient volumes as they resume regular screening operations. During the shutdown, breast centers were able to remotely access VolparaEnterprise to analyze their center's performance data and develop improvement plans prior to resuming screening operations. Technologists also accessed their positioning and compression data, giving them an opportunity to review educational videos to enhance their positioning skills. As facilities reopen, they are using the VolparaEnterprise data and the reporting tools in Aspen Breast to track utilization and prioritize scheduling patients with high breast density and other high-risk factors.
"During this unprecedented time, we know that nothing is as it used to be," said Monica Saini, M.D., MS, Chief Medical Officer, Volpara Solutions. "Facilities that have seen limited scheduling and significant drops in patient volume must now prepare for higher-than-normal volumes to resolve backlog. This includes balancing the need to quickly schedule high-risk patients who missed their regular screenings and operating under new post-COVID physical-distancing norms. Volpara is working hard to offer training and robust data and analytics to help sites recover and offer safe and efficient screening services to their patients."
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