Major imaging groups launch campaign urging patients to ‘return to care’

Several major U.S. radiology industry players are banding together, urging patients to “return to care” that they’ve put off during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Groups such as the RSNA and American College of Radiology are concerned about recent reports of consumers putting off imaging amid fears of contracting the new coronavirus. One recent survey from the American Cancer Society found that 87% of cancer patients and survivors reported a disruption in their care during the pandemic.

“Concerns about COVID-19 have led some patients to delay necessary screens, scans, vaccinations and treatments,” imaging advocates noted on their website. “The #ReturnToCare Coalition is a group of patient advocacy organizations and medical societies working together to encourage patients to seek the care they need in consultation with their healthcare providers.”

The coalition’s webpage offers information and resources to encourage patients to schedule any long-delayed imaging or other care. Fellow group members the American Society of Radiologic Technologists highlighted the effort in an alert to its members Tuesday. Others involved include the American Society for Radiation Oncology, the Academy of Physician Assistants, Society of Hematology, Society of Nuclear Medicine and Molecular Imaging, and the Medical Imaging and Technology Alliance.

Several prominent California hospital systems also sounded the alarm on this trend in May, predicting an impending “silent sub-epidemic” of delayed care in the coming months and years. In June, a National Cancer Institute model predicted 10,000 excess U.S. cancer deaths over the next decade due to COVID care delays.

The Radiology Business Management Association recently urged its members to not shortchange marketing efforts, which it believes will be essential to luring patients back.