The COVID-19 pandemic is having a devastating impact on the global economy, and U.S. radiology practices are among those businesses that are suffering, as people avoid elective procedures to limit the spread of the virus. “At a time of unprecedented public health and economic crisis, radiologists have never experienced so much uncertainty,” says Howard P. Forman, MD, MBA, from Yale School of Management, in a statement from the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). “We attempt to lay out the background and the path forward,” he adds, referencing a special report he coauthored, “The Economic Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Radiology Practices,” published April 15 in Radiology.
The pandemic will likely result in long-term or even permanent alterations to Radiology practice. On a micro level, practices could be permanently redesigned as radiologists become more comfortable reading remotely. Large practices will be particularly well suited to expand radiologist hours well beyond the current 9-5 workday with staggered shifts; allowing for higher overall volumes and providing increased flexibility to patients who prefer off hour examinations. Any permanent increase in remote reading will have important effects on resident training and department collegiality.