Covid-19 information and support system for radiographers now available

Published: 22 April 2020 Radiotherapy

An international web-based information and support system focusing on mobile chest x-ray of patients who have Covid-19, has been launched.

Led by Professor Peter Hogg of the University of Salford and Ken Holmes, University of Cumbria, the resources have been developed in close partnership with the European Federation of Radiography Societies (EFRS) and the International Society of Radiographers and Radiologic Technologists (ISRRT), with significant input from the Italian Federation of Scientific Radiographers Societies (FASTeR), the Society and College of Radiographers, and e-Learning for Health (e-LfH).

"CT and mobile chest x-ray (CXR) are considered to be two valuable imaging tools in the management of Covid-19, but due to CT safety and logistics, CXR is used more extensively," Peter Hogg said.

"Mobile radiography is an art and a science and not all radiographers are up to date with this technique. Consequently, due to the rapid rise in demand for mobile CXR imaging, many radiographers will have to be reskilled and upskilled."

Peter continued, "We know this will place a huge resource burden, both locally and nationally, in order to create and deliver learning opportunities to meet training and educational needs.

"Providing a single web-based information and support resource with links to other sites, including e-LfH, means that tens of thousands of hours can be saved across the world by reducing or even eliminating the need for replication of effort. More time can therefore be spent on caring for patients.

"Also, it is worth noting that within and between countries, the information provided to radiographers about PPE and professional/social practices to minimise Covid-19 infection is highly variable."

Multinational effort
From conception to publication, the system was developed and published within 16 days. A multinational team of over 40 people was assembled, and in excess of a thousand hours of human effort went into its creation. The team worked in small sub-groups on specific topics. Nobody could meet in person due to social distancing and some sub-groups did not know each other before the project.

Time zones created additional difficulties, as synchronous working was hard to achieve around the globe. However, once each sub-group produced material about a topic, it was peer reviewed quickly and suggestions were made for improvement; revisions with turned around within hours. At the same time, they worked closely with Elsevier, the publishers of Radiography journal, to identify articles that had value to the work and the review and publication process was expedited so links could be made to articles from the website.

Peter Hogg noted, "We must accept two caveats:

  • Practice and legal variations will occur within individual countries and we could not address them here
  • The subject of mobile chest x-ray imaging and PPE for Covid-19 is changing fast; you should always check for up-to-date evidence and your government's guidelines, where they exist.”