The impact of COVID-19 on Western Australian medical imaging clinical practice and workplace
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ntroduction Medical imaging plays a key role in the management of patients with coronavirus disease-2019 (COVID-19). This field is at risk from the impacts of the pandemic on the practice and workplace of medical imaging professionals (MIPs). Recent research has explored this impact internationally and in various states of Australia; however, the impact of the pandemic on Western Australian (WA) MIPs is yet to be examined.
Methods This cross-sectional study aimed to address this issue by surveying clinically practicing WA MIPs on their experience of the impact of COVID-19. The survey was conducted online between the 1st and the 31st of May 2021 and encompassed 101 clinical sites.
Results Fifty-one valid (17.1%) responses were recorded, and a majority (66.7%) of the participants were employed in public hospitals. The results showed that most participants (94.1%) perceived an impact on their clinical practice, with expressions of insufficient access to personal protective equipment (PPE). The use of all the appropriate PPE items were dependent on whether the participants were employed in a public hospital, private hospital, or a private practice (P = 0.001). Perceived imaging volume decrease across modalities did not differ significantly among the workplaces, except for interventional radiology (P = 0.006). The participants also expressed concerns about inadequate psychological support.
Conclusions COVID-19 has enhanced infection control procedures and modified the routine imaging patterns. Specifically, WA medical imaging centres have altered their PPE and cleaning procedures based on updated health advice. Efforts should be taken to strengthen the support provided to the staff members and to ensure adequate access to PPE supplies.
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