COVID-19: Guidance, Community Diagnostic Imaging Services
April 15, 2020
Further to the ASR media release dated March 18th 2020, Diagnostic Imaging leadership in Alberta has meetings frequently by teleconference to guide best practice issues, with representation from various Radiology practice groups across the Province, as well as the AHS DI Zone Leads from Edmonton and Calgary.
We have reviewed the CMOH order March 27th 2020 https://open.alberta.ca/publications/cmoh-order-07-2020-2020-covid-19-response#summary and have noted subsequent guidance on implementation from the Registrar of the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta April 3rd 2020 (https://mailchi.mp/cpsa/cpsa-advice-to-the-profession-defining-urgent-care-covid19?e=2e5cfd2bb0) as to what constitutes an ‘essential’ or ‘urgent’ physician service under the circumstances. Some considerations include:
Additionally, clinics continuing to provide services must implement up-to-date COVID-19 specific Infection Prevention and Control strategies appropriate to their settings as recommended by AHS including patient screening; physical distancing; PPE use as required; and other staff, patient, visitor, and environmental precautions such as:
Further information at:
Within Diagnostic Imaging, the general consensus is that community DI providers who can meet these standards should continue to provide support to referring physicians for the issues that patients are still seeking care for from their medical home, that those health care providers can still accept patients for, that they are still sending patients to DI facilities for, and that patients are subsequently choosing to prioritize rather than postpone. Continuing to care for these patients promptly in the community / ambulatory care setting may reduce overall exposure risk by avoiding care-seeking in other venues or facilities including Urgent Care or Emergency Departments, or repeat visits within primary care.
Chest: new cough, chest pain, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing, low oxygen levels, pneumonia, pneumothorax
Abdomen: obstruction, perforation / free air
Extremity: fracture or subluxation, foreign body, infection
acute neck, abdominal, abdominal wall, pelvic, or scrotal pain
deep venous thrombosis, arterial occlusion, acute bleeding concern;
possible abscess or deep infection;
biopsy of highly suspicious lesions
Diagnostic mammogram: new concerns only.
With this combination of circumstances and measures, Community Diagnostic Imaging facilities are typically reporting 50-75% reductions in patient visits at this time.
Robert Davies, MD, FRCP(C)
President, Alberta Society of Radiologists
President, Section of Diagnostic Imaging (AMA)
(by consensus, April 15th 2020 Alberta DI leaders’ teleconference)
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