(HealthDay News) — Radiology departments have been implementing policies to ensure preparedness for the coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic, according to a report published online March 16 in Radiology.

Mahmud Mossa-Basha, M.D., from the University of Washington School of Medicine in Seattle, and colleagues address radiology preparedness for the COVID-19 pandemic at different medical centers.

The authors discussed the top priorities for COVID-19 preparedness. These include early detection and limiting exposure of health care workers, employees, and patients with the use of screeners at hospital entrances and at the radiology front desk. The current reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction assay for SARS-CoV-2 viral nucleic acid is estimated to have sensitivity of 95 to 97 percent, despite reports from China and initial concerns about unreliable test performance. Chest computed tomography (CT) seems to be unnecessary for detecting COVID-19 and is reserved for cases where it will impact patient management. Droplet precaution is employed during imaging for suspected positive or positive COVID-19 patients. Other priorities include planning for sufficient staffing in order to meet clinical needs, arranging surge potential should health care systems be taxed, addressing potential contamination of CT scanners, developing COVID-19 crisis management teams, and developing plans for separate urgent care sites for COVID-19.

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“Teleconsultation and electronic smart appointment applications and counseling are being fast tracked for implementation and will have far reaching impact on our future practice,” coauthor Bien Soo Tan, M.D., chair of the Division of Radiological Sciences at Singapore General Hospital, said in a statement.

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