Social distancing measures implemented since March 2020 have been vital to slowing the spread of COVID-19, in Scotland and around the world, however they also have impeded research progress in Universities. To support our cross-institutional community of imaging researchers for whom research activities have been suspended in recent months, SINAPSE has collated a variety of resources specifically to assist with planning for the resumption of medical imaging research activity as Scotland progresses along its route map through and out of the COVID-19 crisis.
SINAPSE is in a unique position as the only Scottish research pool involving NHS Scotland, in addition to academic partner institutions, meaning that we are able to integrate expert guidance for clinical imaging amid the COVID-19 pandemic in preparations for safely resuming research imaging. As lockdown restrictions continue to be relaxed by the Scottish Government, the resources below suggest measures that should be taken to protect the health of researchers and research participants as a phased return to Scotland’s imaging research facilities begins.
Naturally, different guidelines will apply to different imaging modalities, settings in which imaging facilities may be shared between research and NHS users, and imaging studies involving vulnerable participant groups – and the different SINAPSE Universities and partner NHS boards have developed their own risk assessment and mitigation processes for local research groups to follow. Please make use of the resources below as a starting point to plan for post-lockdown resumption of imaging research activity, in the hope that collective guidelines may help diminish the negative impact on research progress caused by the unprecedented situation surrounding COVID-19.
Exemplar guidance from national professional bodies on resuming non-urgent clinical imaging:
- Royal College of Radiologists: COVID-19 interim guidance on restarting elective work (28 April 2020)
- American College of Radiology: Statement on Safe Resumption of Routine Radiology Care During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic (6 May 2020)
- Canadian Association of Radiologists: Radiology Resumption of Clinical Services (8 May 2020)
- Scottish Government: Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for laboratories and research facilities
- NHS Research Scotland: Re-starting non-COVID-related clinical research
Local guidelines on resuming research activity at SINAPSE partner institutions:
Clinical imaging guidelines by modality (to inform research imaging practices):
- American Clinical Neurophysiology Society: COVID-19 Resources for Clinical Neurophysiology
- British Nuclear Medicine Society: Guidance for Covid-19 Recovery phases
- British Society of Echocardiography: Clinical guidance regarding provision of echocardiography during the COVID-19 pandemic
Research imaging guidelines by modality:
- University of California, Davis: Protocol for Reducing COVID-19 Transmission Risk in EEG Research