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Nuclear Cardiology Optimistic About Return to Pre-COVID-19 Exam Levels

Want to know how the Nuclear Cardiology sector is working through the COVID-19 pandemic?

The American Society of Nuclear Cardiology President Sharmila Dorbala, M.D., MPH, FASNC pointed to the ASNC’s quick turnaround for practice guidance documents for patient care in a COVID-19 environment. While many facilities are working towards re-opening their non-emergent services, many practitioners are optimistic that nuclear cardiology case volumes will soon return to pre-pandemic levels according to a survey conducted by the ASNC.

The following article was originally published via Diagnostic and Interventional Cardiology (DAIC) on June 1, 2020.

Nuclear Cardiology Optimistic About Return to Pre-COVID-19 Exam Levels

50 percent respond things will be back to normal in a couple months, less than 15 percent said it will take a year or more

Nuclear Cardiology Optimistic About Return to Pre-COVID-19 Exam Levels. An American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) member survey are confident nuclear cardiology volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels. #COVID19 #SARScov2

June 1, 2020 — While acknowledging the challenges their specialty is facing, more than two-thirds of respondents to an American Society of Nuclear Cardiology (ASNC) member survey are confident nuclear cardiology volumes will return to pre-pandemic levels.

The ASNC reports the following findings from its recent survey:
• About 50 percent expect to be back to normal in three to six months;
• Less than 15 percent expect recovery will take one to two years;
• Key variables, respondents noted, are vaccine development and adequate testing.

“Understanding what challenges members are confronting as they resume practice operations is key to prioritizing the services ASNC will focus on delivering now,” said ASNC President Sharmila Dorbala, M.D., MPH, FASNC. She pointed to the rapid turnaround ASNC achieved on practice guidance documents for patient care during COVID-19 and re-establishing nonemergent care, as well as the society’s outreach to payers.

The survey, fielded during the weeks when the pandemic was showing signs of waning, was completed by a mix of physicians and technologists in various practice types. Nearly three-quarters of respondents were from the U.S.

As hoped, the survey delivered perspective on how the nuclear imaging field is tackling challenges; members’ priorities at this difficult time and insights into how ASNC should continue to “support, not distract,” which has been the society’s approach throughout the pandemic.

Here are some survey findings:
• More than 80 percent are following social distancing recommendations in their facilities and implementing staff safety protocols;
• 45 percent are leveraging virtual health for routine patient follow-up;
• 38 percent increased distance teaching and learning.

Survey respondents were frank about the barriers ahead. The ASCN members surveyed noted that the past few months have seen volume downturns, staff furloughs and unbudgeted personal proactive equipment (PPE) costs.

Going forward, members’ top-of-mind challenges are around staffing, balancing virtual and in-office visits, and private payer policies on prior authorization, among others. However, their top concern – cited by 74 percent – is restoring patient confidence.

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