Health experts: Moscow approaches the peak of the epidemic
The polyclinics converted to outpatient CT centers started to admit COVID-19 patients. A novel routing mechanism is there to secure access to radiological and instrumental diagnostic methods for patients with physical illnesses or cancer
22 polyclinics have been converted to outpatient CT centers. Each Moscow district has at least one that operates twenty-four-seven. There, patients will receive a comprehensive clinical examination, incl. CT study, based on the indications. According to Stanislav Samburskiy, CMO of the Moscow Center of Diagnostics & Telemedicine will be responsible for supervision over the quality of radiology and instrumental exams. Radiographers will carry out the distant reading of the diagnostic images.
“Our goal is to outpace the pandemic, which is why we opened more outpatient CT centers and refocused clinicians to preventive care,” said Sergey Morozov, Chief External Officer for Radiology and Instrumental Diagnostics, and Director of the Moscow Center of Diagnostics & Telemedicine. — “We introduced a new mechanism to streamline the routing of patients with different conditions for diagnostic examinations. During this Spring the outpatient CT centers built a coherent triage framework for patients with infectious diseases, physical illnesses, and cancer. Yet still, most of the health efforts were thrown to fight the pandemic. As of now, this issue has been studied from every angle.”
Sergey Morozov added, that, first, medical facilities split patient flows to admit both covid and non-urgent patients. Furthermore, the CT centers strictly follow the necessary precautions to shield both health workers and patients. Second, although some polyclinics were converted to outpatient CT centers, they still provide other types of diagnostic examinations to the population. The polyclinics adopted a set of rules for triage developed by the experts of the Moscow Center of Diagnostics & Telemedicine.
Radiographers note, that in the early days of the outbreak, there was some slight confusion about how to readjust the triage mechanism to secure appropriate routing of patients with different conditions. “At the moment, the Moscow health care system accumulated rich and valuable experience in the prevention and control of this epidemic, and it’s become possible to manage the care delivery in such a manner that the health care system would not suffer much damage in case the epidemic brakes lose. The preventive measures were introduced to even the burden between the outpatient CT centers and to avoid possible queues for medical examinations,” said Nikita Polishсhuk, Deputy Head Physician of the Moscow Center of Diagnostics & Telemedicine. — “We continuously monitor the workload for CT scanners and help to reroute the patients for diagnostic examinations.”
The Expert added, that the outpatient CT centers maintain their regular radiology departments and adhere to the sanitary and epidemiological safety precautions. The experts of the Moscow Center of Diagnostics & Telemedicine monitor the supply of the personal protective equipment, keep track of the number of radiographers and radiology technicians, and conduct training seminars and workshops for clinicians involved in COVID-19 care.
Let us remember, that starting April 11, 2020, the Moscow Health Care Department converted 45 medical facilities to outpatient CT centers, that have been providing primary care to the population since then. Patients suspected for COVID-19 were referred to comprehensive clinical examinations, which involved medical consultations, pulse oximetry testing, EGC, blood test, taking swabs for PCR testing, and chest CT. Radiographers perform medical examinations to check for any abnormalities in lung tissue in symptomatic patients, suspected for COVID-19, and to track changes in diagnosed patients. In June the data showed a decline in the number of COVID-related CT imaging studies, so the radiology departments were returned back to normal operations. At the moment, the routing mechanism has been fine-tuned to handle the flow of both regular and COVID-19 patients.