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Johns Hopkins Radiology Battles COVID-19

Johns Hopkins Radiology Battles COVID-19

Clinical

As COVID-19 spread across the world, the Johns Hopkins Radiology Department rose to the challenge of providing care during a pandemic. Faculty and staff members showed their dedication to providing high-quality patient care in many ways. Here are a few highlights.

Radiologists and the clinical team created an “Air Traffic Control” service to screen patients and map out safe imaging access. In conjunction with the Johns Hopkins COVID-19 Response Outpatient Clinic at Bayview, a dedicated imaging center was created. Select services were expanded out to Johns Hopkins hospitals as part of an integrated health system response to deliver safe and expeditious care.

Radiology technologists committed themselves to new screening, cleaning, and personal protective equipment requirements. They ensured all patients received care as safely as possible. During the first surge in COVID-19 cases, select Johns Hopkins Medical Imaging staff were redeployed to JHH Radiology and other JHMI sites to help.

Radiology nurses volunteered for the short-staffed ICU and acute care nursing units. Those with appropriate backgrounds learned updated unit, patient care, and documentation standards and changing infectious disease and PPE guidelines. Meanwhile, those who remained in radiology assisted with increased patient screening and maintaining operations. Radiology nurses and technologists also volunteered to train as transport and safety officers.

Interventional radiologists who normally perform procedures in the lab were deployed to COVID-19 units to perform bedside procedures. This allowed for less patient transport and increased safety for patients and staff.

While working outside the department, radiologists stayed overnight and worked late to ensure patient care was met with the same high-quality standards.

Our radiology family worked in many ways to support each other during this pandemic, embracing our strategic goal of working like one organization.

Research

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Johns Hopkins Radiology has continued its research efforts while prioritizing the health and safety of all researchers, staff, and community members. When all but the most critical in-person research activities were shut down in March, this did not deter the Radiology research faculty, fellows, and staff who continued to remotely analyze data, publish manuscripts, and submit grant applications and progress reports.

Faculty members actively participated in virtual scientific meetings sponsored by the American Association for Cancer Research (AACR), the International Society for Magnetic Resonance in Medicine (ISMRM) and the World Molecular Imaging Congress (WMIC) and gave multiple scientific presentations and talks along with fellows. The COVID-19 Research Working Group was formed to coordinate information gathering, funding opportunities, and virtual meetings with outside experts to discuss Radiology’s role in future projects.

Essential personnel ensured service center instruments and equipment were safely maintained, liquid nitrogen cell freezers were filled, and that the lab equipment was kept running smoothly. In mid-June, faculty and administrative staff formed the Radiology Research Restart Committee to plan lab density, develop reopening plans, commission signage and sort through additional information for the eventual return to in-person work in the lab.

Education

With the shift to remote work, the Radiology Department prioritized community and connectivity for clinical faculty and trainees.

Video conferencing was rapidly adopted to mimic the interactions of a physical reading room as closely as possible. Division leaders became Zoom superusers in the beginning and then shifted to Microsoft Teams with the creation of a Radiology Virtual Department to support clinical and educational activities. Microsoft Teams allowed for divisions to have their own channels and for multiple meetings to happen simultaneously. Participants could view activity within their own channel and the presence of those outside the channel. There are now more than 70 users per day participating in educational activities and clinical meetings. The channels also serve as a virtual water cooler and facilitate a sense of community through the chat and post functions.

Faculty leaders of the resident team also created a call-prep curriculum to help first-year residents manage safety guidelines and schedule changes. In preparation for their required overnight calls, the format included real-time feedback and constant communication with the chief residents to ensure they were fully supported.

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