Background: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has significantly impacted outpatient radiology practices, necessitating change in practice infrastructure and workflow. Objective: The purpose of this study was to assess the consequences of social distancing regulations on 1) outpatient imaging volume and 2) no-show rates per imaging modality. Methods: Volume and no-show rates of a large, multicenter metropolitan healthcare system outpatient practice were retrospectively stratified by modality including radiography, CT, MRI, ultrasonography, PET, DEXA, and mammography from January 2 to July 21, 2020. Trends were assessed relative to timepoints of significant state and local social distancing regulatory changes. Results: The decline in imaging volume and rise in no-show rates was first noted on March 10, 2020 following the declaration of a state of emergency in New York State (NYS). Total outpatient imaging volume declined 85% from baseline over the following 5 days. Decreases varied by modality: 88% for radiography, 75% for CT, 73% for MR, 61% for PET, 80% for ultrasonography, 90% for DEXA, and 85% for mammography. Imaging volume and no-show rate recovery preceded the mask mandate of April 15, 2020, and further trended along with New York City's reopening phases. No-show rates recovered within 2 months of the height of the pandemic, however, outpatient imaging volume has yet to recover to baseline after 3 months. Conclusion: The total outpatient imaging volume declined alongside an increase in the no-show rate following the declaration of a state of emergency in NYS. No-show rates recovered within 2 months of the height of the pandemic with imaging volume yet to recover after 3 months. Clinical impact: Understanding the impact of social distancing regulations on outpatient imaging volume and no-show rates can potentially aid other outpatient radiology practices and healthcare systems in anticipating upcoming changes as the COVID-19 pandemic evolves.
- Outpatient imaging volume
- Outpatient no-show rate
- Social distancing regulations