The ACR recognizes that radiology practices are grappling with when and how to safely resume routine radiology care during the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic. Although it is unclear how long the pandemic will last, it may persist for many months. Throughout this time, it will be important to perform safe, comprehensive, and effective care for patients with and patients without COVID-19, recognizing that asymptomatic transmission is common with this disease. Local idiosyncrasies prevent a single prescriptive strategy. However, general considerations can be applied to most practice environments. A comprehensive strategy will include consideration of local COVID-19 statistics; availability of personal protective equipment; local, state, and federal government mandates; institutional regulatory guidance; local safety measures; health care worker availability; patient and health care worker risk factors; factors specific to the indication(s) for radiology care; and examination or procedure acuity. An accurate risk-benefit analysis of postponing versus performing a given routine radiology examination or procedure often is not possible because of many unknown and complex factors. However, this is the overriding principle: If the risk of illness or death to a health care worker or patient from health care–acquired COVID-19 is greater than the risk of illness or death from delaying radiology care, the care should be delayed; however, if the opposite is true, the radiology care should proceed in a timely fashion.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging