13. Reporting outside the hospital environment
Some countries reported an increased desire for reporting staff to ‘work from home’ during the outbreak. This may reduce the risk of infection to reporters but also may not be possible to achieve depending on whether those staff may be required to cover other duties (clinical duties if they hold medical registrations or licenses to practice medicine). However the following considerations may be useful in setting up such as service:
- Is the public internet robust enough to allow for remote reporting? As mentioned previously, many countries reported capacity issues with large volumes of the population contained to homes;
- Is it possible to move Radiology reporting workstations and monitors to reporters homes or would it be more convenient to move them to, for example, local hotels where more use could be made of them (but still out of the hospital boundary);
- Are there sufficient workstations within the department to begin removing them?
- Is there I.T. support for configuring firewalls, virtual private network (VPN) access?
- Licensing – are there sufficient licenses for software such as the PACS, RIS and general I.T. components (VPN etc.)
- Worklists – can the necessary worklists be compiled for expedient remote reporting?
- Support for technical problems – can adequate support be provided outside of the hospital boundaries? Moving equipment remotely generally adds exponentially to the time required to support fault finding problems etc. which may not be possible to provide during extremely busy periods.