Radiologists Can Thrive in the Midst of COVID-19—And Beyond

Andrew F Simon, PhD, PsyD; Erin Simon Schwartz, MD, FACR


Appl Radiol. 2020;49(4):16-19. 

In This Article

Abstract and Introduction


The coronavirus pandemic has forcibly altered the way we live and work. Beyond the health threat posed by the virus itself, COVID-19's presence poses a threat to the healthcare landscape. Radiology as a whole has been impacted; volumes are down, some radiologists have been furloughed, and financial sustainability for many centers and practices has been jeopardized. Record-high unemployment means fewer people will likely have health insurance in the near future, leading to concerns that demand will soon rise as reimbursements fall. Such threats are only exacerbated by ongoing uncertainty around social and political reactions.

Destabilizing as these forces may be, this is a time to consider how the current demands are impacting radiologists and to lay the groundwork for future success.[1] Lessons emerging from the pandemic are occurring across industries. Several prominent organizations, including Twitter and Microsoft, adapted to the need for a remote workforce and discovered that such changes enhance the creativity and productivity of many employees.[2,3] The purpose of this article is to reflect on comparable opportunities for radiologists and identify lessons that can potentially improve job satisfaction and support productivity, even after the need for physical distancing has lessened. To do this, we draw on research from human factors and psychology. Our goal is not so much to propose answers as to highlight principles and practices that may serve radiologists going forward and increase their ability to thrive irrespective of work climate.