Communicating With Breast Imaging Patients During the COVID-19 Pandemic: Impact on Patient Care and Physician Wellness

Hannah S. Milch, Lars J. Grimm, Steven R. Plimpton, Khai Tran, Daniela Markovic, Brian N. Dontchos, Stamatia Destounis, Vandana Dialani, Basak E. Dogan, Emily B. Sonnenblick, Margarita L. Zuley, Katerina Dodelzon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: Assess the impact of COVID-19 on patient-breast radiologist interactions and evaluate the relationship between safety measure-constrained communication and physician wellbeing. Methods: A 41-question survey on the perceived effect of COVID-19 on patient care was distributed from June 2020 to September 2020 to members of the Society of Breast Imaging and the National Consortium of Breast Centers. Non-radiologists and international members were excluded. Anxiety and psychological distress scores were calculated. A multivariable logistic model was used to identify demographic and mental health factors associated with responses. Results: Five hundred twenty-five surveys met inclusion criteria (23% response rate). Diminished ability to fulfill patients' emotional needs was reported by 46% (221/479), a response associated with younger age (OR, 0.8 per decade; P<0.01), higher anxiety (OR, 2.3; P<0.01), and higher psychological distress (OR, 2.2; P=0.04). Personal protective equipment made patient communication more difficult for 88% (422/478), a response associated with younger age (OR, 0.8 per decade; P=0.008), female gender (OR, 1.9; P<0.01), and greater anxiety (OR, 2.6; P=0.001). The inability to provide the same level of care as prior to COVID-19 was reported by 37% (177/481) and was associated with greater anxiety (OR, 3.4; P<0.001) and psychological distress (OR, 1.7; P=0.03). Conclusion: The majority of breast radiologists reported that COVID-19 has had a negative impact on patient care. This perception was more likely among younger radiologists and those with higher levels of anxiety and psychological distress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)144-152
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Breast Imaging
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • breast radiology
  • burnout
  • COVID-19
  • pandemic
  • patient care
  • patient-centered communication
  • personal protective equipment
  • physician wellness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging

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