The COVID-19 Effect on Radiation Oncology Practices

Despite facing challenges such as limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE) following the COVID-19 outbreak, radiation oncology clinics quickly implemented safety and process enhancements that allowed them to continue caring for cancer patients, according to a national survey from the American Society for Radiation Oncology (ASTRO). However, the vast majority (85%) of the respondents said that their practices were seeing fewer patients, with an average dropoff of about a third from the normal volume. The majority of practices experienced staff reductions, due mainly to declines in patient volume (49%) and increased family care responsibilities (28%), according to the survey. Relatively few (11%) had reductions due to COVID-19 illness among staff members.

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