OAR COVID-19 Update

March 27, 2020

OAR Statement on PPE for Radiologists and DI Staff

The OAR believes that the lack of sufficient COVID testing at this time underlines the need to ensure that all DI staff and radiologists are wearing necessary PPE attire from patient registration to patient scanning to the performance of procedures.  Having learned the hard lessons of SARS, the OAR strongly recommends that safety of our members and their staff is fundamental and an unequivocal aspect in our duty to protect them and the patients we collectively serve.  PPE will ensure that our departments and clinics do not become points of transmission instead of centres of patient care delivery.  We will continue to press at every level to ensure PPE materiel is available to you wherever you practice.  Likewise, radiologists and their staffs should not be discouraged by others to avoid wearing PPE due to lack of supply or cost.  If inadequate PPE is available urgent decisions are required to respond to that situation and make workplace adjustments on the basis of DI radiologist/staff and patient safety.

 OAR COVID-19 Readiness Survey Results

Thank you to the almost 200 radiologists who responded to the OAR C-19 Readiness Survey to provide insight into the situation facing members and their staff in Ontario hospitals and clinics, particularly in terms of PPE availability.

Major survey findings include:

  • 56% were hospital rad respondents; 27% IHF and 17% combined practices
  • 47% felt there was inadequate PPE use; 22% didn’t know
  • Only 18% of radiologists were using PPE for all patients; 70% for select patients; and 12% reported no PPE use
  • 22% of DI staff were using PPE for all patients; 67% for select patients; and 11% for no patients
  • 53% reported they have an inadequate supply for Rads and all DI staff; 27% said they had an adequate supply; 20% said it varied from day-to-day
  • 48% felt hospitals and IHF were supporting of active use of PPE; 30% said no and the balance were uncertain
  • Every site was screening patients
  • 36% felt they had received or purchased sufficient PPE; 64% said it was inadequate
  • 54% of respondents said their site had scanned confirmed or highly probable C-19 patients
  • 48% felt their site was not adequately prepared for the C-19 crisis; 25% said they were prepared; 27% were uncertain

 OAR Current PPE Inventory Survey for MOH

Attached please find the OAR’s survey tool asking all radiologists to advise what is their current supply of PPE by major item (masks, eye shields, gloves, gowns) for IHFs and DI departments so as to assist MOH to be able to faster prioritise the efficient delivery of fresh PPE supplies.  Please fill out the survey and return to the OAR at mail@oarinfo.ca

Complete: OAR Current PPE Inventory Survey for MOH

Ontario Government Declares IHFs Essential Services

The OAR worked in the background with the Ontario government to bring early clarification about radiology IHFs role as an essential service in the “flattening the curve” effort and the government’s call to preserve capacity outside hospitals in key areas such as DI when COVID surges.  This was also part of our extensive effort to draw attention to the need to provide PPE to clinics and DI departments.

It is reassuring that the Ontario government moved swiftly to recognise the pivotal role played by IHF community-based clinics, particularly during tumultuous times as this.

CAIR/CAR Guidelines Statement

The OAR wishes to acknowledge the expert panel that developed the CAIR/CAR statement sent by e-blast to all Ontario radiologists.  We would also like to acknowledge and express our gratitude for the contributions from Drs. Carole Dennie, Narinder Paul, Aditya Bharatha, Vik Agarwal, Mark Prieditis and Mark Baerlocher and many others who have assisted us to respond factually to radiologist queries. 

Access the OAR’s Online CME Programming

Even though the RCPSC has suspended CME requirements in view of COVID-19, all OAR members are reminded and welcomed to access previous OAR CME programs available in our web archive.  CME certificates will be provided for those advising the OAR office of the name and number of course lectures they viewed.  All courses, including 2019 courses, are available in the OAR web archive, the 2020 Stroke course will be made available on Monday. We will advise you of other available DI CME events.  OAR members can access them via https://oarinfo.ca/login. Enter your CME login credentials, if you have any issues email the OAR mail@oarinfo.ca or call 905-337-2680 and Brenda will assist you.

Status of New Annual Breast Imaging Reads

The OAR contacted CCO regarding the goal of 1,000 annual reads of all kinds of breast imaging services following the recent release of the CAR and CCO advisories about suspending breast screening and other related services during the COVID-19 crisis.  The OAR obtained CCO concurrence that the effort to meet new annual number of reads was not possible for an extended period of time.  

Radiologists should be aware that the OAR has had a number of previous teleconferences with CCO about the need to take a staged and more transitional approach to permit radiologists to meet this new target.  CCO said they understood that the lack of notice had caused serious challenges for many radiologists and that proper consultation and collaborative implementation was essential to permit a successful transition.  Thanks are owed to former and current OBSP Chief Radiologists Drs. Derek Muradali and Samantha Fienberg for assisting in these discussions.

We encourage you to access the excellent OAR breast imaging CME programming.

Radiology Residents & Fellows

All residents have been impacted by the decision to delay Royal College exams until October.  Fellows will be seeking employment opportunities and we encourage groups to advise the OAR of forecasted openings so that they can be notified.

Offer of Assistance

Radiologists have offered help to any group that may find themselves unexpectedly lacking access to reading resources in their clinics or for after-hours coverage even with the significant downturn in patient volumes.  The OAR can be a conduit to put groups/clinics and radiologists together should these situations arise.

DI Staffing Resources

See the attached OAR link regarding key government relief program weblinks to be shared with colleagues and IHF operators as they grapple with the issue of staff layoffs and how best to help them during this crisis.  We recognise this list is not complete and is continually evolving.  If you are aware of other government program links, please forward to the OAR mail@oarinfo.ca

Download Government Relief Program Weblinks