The American College of Radiology (ACR)'s Commission on General, Small, Emergency and/or Rural Practice (GSER) held a webinar on May 5 to explore the effect of the COVID-19 pandemic on different types of radiology practices and how those practices might plan for resuming services, wrote a team led by Dr. Andrew Moriarty of Advanced Radiology Services in Grand Rapids, MI.
Webinar panelists addressed the following topics regarding radiology practices' return to service after the pandemic:
- Current recruitment efforts and plans to expand service would be paused or reconsidered as practices try to anticipate future volumes and scenarios of recovery.
- Exam volume losses during the pandemic were due to deferral of imaging procedures and stay-at-home orders across the U.S. Panelists expressed uncertainty about the timing and rate of restarting outpatient and elective imaging.
- The panel was mixed on the impact of COVID-19 on radiology consolidation and corporatization, with some practices reconsidering whether to continue independently. Some practices reported financial losses due to reduced exam volumes of 80%.
- All panelists agreed that remote reading services will increase after the pandemic.
- All panelists also agreed that it has been difficult to understand and apply for federal aid during the pandemic.
"All radiology practice types have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic," Moriarty and colleagues concluded. "[Practice leaders] highlight the need to safely and effectively resume imaging services based on local conditions, while simultaneously developing contingency plans for potential future forced imaging reductions or service disruptions."
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