During the coronavirus pandemic, most radiology practices shuttered or scaled back drastically. One service that stood out from the rest pivoted and focused on Radiology Consultation Service (RCS) to provide consultation and ensure permanence of care.

A recent study published in Clinical Imaging followed investigators from Weill Cornell Medical College at New York Presbyterian Hospital, who clarified how their RCS (launched in 2013) expanded through COVID-19.

Melissa Reichman, M.D., a women’s imaging specialist and assistant professor of radiology at Weill Cornell, led the team. Reichman said, “At a time when radiology experienced an unprecedented decrease in imaging studies during the initial peak of the COVID-19 crisis, the RCS at our institution, in contrast, showed a notable increase in services provided. Our experience demonstrates the value of an organized radiology consultation service and may serve as an example for other institutions to adopt a similar program, as patient-centered care is at the forefront of radiology.”

The number of consultations, as well as screening mammograms and ultrasounds, were compared from January 1, 2020, through July 31, 2020, to the same 2019 timeframe. Two more periods, March 1, 2020, through June 30, 2020, were compared to the same dates from the previous year.

Their findings identified many consultations ranging from 1,398 in 2019 to 1,623 in 2020, a 16 percent increase. Also, consultations were higher from March through June 2020 (679) versus 2019 (538), a 16.9 percent increase.

Results from the study indicate that RCS presents a route for radiologists to be at the forefront of the healthcare process, integrating with patients and providers regarding decisions. To determine the best plan possible for patients, all parties worked together as a team.

The report stated, “Physicians have become more conscientious about their imaging recommendations, relying on the radiologists’ clinical judgment of what is essential and minimizing unnecessary potential viral exposure. As a result, we believe that the radiology consultation service has enabled a more appropriate use of imaging.”

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Written by the digital marketing staff at Creative Programs & Systems: www.cpsmi.com.