The Disruption of Radiology Services due to COVID-19

COVID-19 has caused disruptions to virtually every facet of our lives. Radiology practices and medical imaging departments across Canada are facing the challenge of resuming services under the “new normal” with little data or historical precedent. The economic recovery is going to take an indeterminate amount of time, and it is unlikely that there will be new funding made available for healthcare beyond emergency measures. Other aspects of medicine are also vying for limited resources.

Radiology services are often a central aspect of the patient journey, and the existing backlog of imaging requisitions has been exacerbated in a multitude of ways by the pandemic. Radiology can again take a leadership role in the COVID-19 recovery by optimizing service delivery while focusing on the patient experience.

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Canadian Association of Radiologists (CAR) established a Canadian Radiology Resilience Task Force. The Task Force examined wait time data for medical imaging and surveyed the current challenges facing radiology departments, with the intent to make recommendations about how to build resilience in the face of disruption. For radiology, resilience means the ability to recover quickly from difficulties and disruptions – COVID-19 for now, and from whatever may arise in the future.

The radiology community in Canada responded to the disruption caused by COVID-19 with a strong, agile response as it endeavoured to adapt to volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous circumstances, while ensuring the continuity of high-quality patient care to the greatest extent possible. Through this experience, the radiology community worked to build resilience and foster the ability to recover after a challenging or traumatic event and emerge stronger on the other side. As the pandemic continues the radiology community has collectively accumulated many lessons learned in responding to the challenge while best serving patients.

Read the full report from the Canadian Association of Radiologists.