Trends of radiology caseload and report turnaround time before and after COVID-19 pandemic at the tertiary teaching hospital, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Background: Coronavirus pandemic has drastically change health institutions due to modifications to the health service delivery system. In line with this, patients visiting health institutions have markedly reduced numbers resulting in a reduced caseload of practicing physicians.
Objective: This paper assessed the caseload in the radiology department of Tikur Anbessa Specialized Hospital and reported turnaround times before and after the COVID-19 pandemic in a tertiary teaching hospital.
Methods: Institution-based Cross-sectional study design was employed for the radiology caseload. All patients’ groups seen in radiology department in all the modalities 6 months before and after the announcement of the COVID-19 in Ethiopia. For the evaluation of radiology report turnaround time, simple random sampling was employed using the source population as those 6 months before in 6 months after the declaration of Covid in Ethiopia. Data entry and analysis were done using SPSS version 16 statistical software. Time series analysis with 95% CI was used to determine the association between different variables for radiology caseloads.
Result: The trend of patient load showed a marked decrease after the COVID-19 pandemic in the radiology department. The turnaround time from study time to residents’ report time (ST-RT) - after COVID-19 for MRI was increased by 17 hours. But resident report time to consultant verification time (RRT-CVT) was decreased by 1 day after the COVID-19 pandemic. For computed tomography [CT], ST-RT has decreased by 1 day and 4 hours but RRT-CVT time showed a slight increment by 1 hour and 30 min as compared to before COVID-19. This resulted in reduced exposure of residents and delays of verified patient reports.
Conclusion: there is a decrease in patient load and an increase in turnaround time of radiology case reports after the COVID-19 pandemic compared with the trend before the pandemic. This will affect patient care and resident teaching. The department should look for ways of improving patient care and resident teaching through different innovative methods like the introduction of virtual education and teleradiology.