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The Impact of COVID-19 on the Use of Radiology Resources in a Tertiary Hospital

Journal of Korean Medical Science 2020년 35권 40호 p.368 ~ 368
Cho Jung-Heum, 이성재, 구본승, 정상훈, 김해영,
소속 상세정보
 ( Cho Jung-Heum ) - Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Department of Radiology
이성재 ( Lee Seung-Jae ) - Seoul National University Graduate School of Convergence Science and Technology Department of Applied Bioengineering
구본승 ( Gu Bon-Seung ) - Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Department of Radiology
정상훈 ( Jung Sang-Hun ) - Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Department of Radiology
김해영 ( Kim Hae-Young ) - Seoul National University Bundang Hospital Department of Radiology

Abstract


Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has escalated to be a global threat to public health. Analysis of the use of radiology resources may render us insight regarding the public health behavior during pandemic. We measured the influence COVID-19 had on the use of radiology resources in terms of the number of examinations performed, and turnaround time for portable radiography.

Methods: This study was conducted at a tertiary hospital located in area where the prevalence of COVID-19 infection was low (0.01%). We compared the number of radiology examinations 1) before pandemic (in 2019) vs. during peak of pandemic (January to March 2020), and 2) before pandemic vs. after the peak of pandemic (April to June 2020) via t-tests. We repeated similar analyses for subgroups as follows: gender, age, department (outpatient, inpatient, emergency, screening), body parts, and modality. We also performed a survey of radiologic technologists regarding the turnaround time and rate-limiting step of portable radiography for patients with and without suspicion or confirmation of COVID-19.

Results: Although not statistically significant, the daily number of examinations during the peak of pandemic decreased by 9 percentage points (2,638 vs. 2,413; difference [95% CI], ?225 [?489, 38]; P = 0.094). The percentage change was especially notable for children, emergency, and screening department (25, 19, and 44 percentage points, respectively). After the peak of the pandemic, the number of examinations increased back to near the pre-pandemic level (2,638 vs. 2,588; ?50 [?317, 218]; P = 0.71). The turnaround time for portable radiography tended to be longer for patients with suspicion or confirmation of COVID-19, with donning personal protective equipment being the major rate-limiting step.

Conclusion: The number of examinations decreased during the pandemic, reflecting the tendency of the public to refrain from seeking medical care even in a community of low infection risk. Nevertheless, burden of healthcare providers may not have decreased as much, considering longer turnaround time required for COVID-19 related examinations.

키워드

Health Resources; Infections; COVID-19; Pandemics; Korea

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