Neiman Health Policy Institute underscores COVID-19’s profound effect across the radiology profession

A new infographic out of the Harvey L. Neiman Health Policy Institute underscores COVID-19’s profound effect across radiology, on small community practices and large integrated hospital systems alike.

The American College of Radiology-established research outfit has conducted a series of studies on the pandemic in recent months to understand its impact on various care settings. Officials released a visual summary of that work at RSNA 2020 this week, presenting practice leaders with a simple communication aid as they speak with policymakers in the coming months.

Among the findings: Hospital giant Northwell Health suffered a roughly 88% drop in the outpatient imaging setting this past March and April when compared to the same period last year. Community-based practices, meanwhile, saw work relative value units plummet 52%, and almost 70% of imaging doc groups have applied for financial assistance.

Up next, HPI is now investigating the specialty’s rebound from those dark days of April, Executive Director Elizabeth Rula, PhD, said Tuesday.

“The analysis is underway for that study and what’s interesting is that there has been a pretty fast recovery, with some areas returning back to baseline,” she told attendees during a virtual presentation Dec. 1. “What we really want to understand is how that has impacted different modalities. One thing that’s going to be interesting about this study is to look at the external forces … that are most impactful in terms of influencing utilization.”

Rula said their goal is to give practice leaders more tools and information to help project future imaging trends as the pandemic continues to unfurl. HPI researchers are also looking to capture more qualitative information around patient sentiment and the factors that influence patient decisions.

“Anecdotally things are getting better,” Rula added. “What we are hoping to explore in these recovery studies is how much is really driven by case rates, versus people’s fears and need to get back to normal life, and also their sense of security in visiting a doctor’s office.”

You can check out the HPI infographic here, and read our coverage of a fourth study on how the pandemic is shifting the socioeconomic mix of patients using imaging here.