Quantifying Impact of Disruption to Radiology Education During the COVID-19 Pandemic and Implications for Future Training

Curr Probl Diagn Radiol. 2020 Aug 26;S0363-0188(20)30145-6. doi: 10.1067/j.cpradiol.2020.07.008. Online ahead of print.


Purpose: The aim of this study was to assess the impact on radiology resident education due to the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform future educational planning.

Methods: During a 10-week study period from March 16 to May 22, 2020, changes to educational block-weeks (BW) of first through fourth year residents (R1-4) were documented as disrupted in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic. The first 5 weeks and the second 5 weeks were evaluated separately for temporal differences. Overall and mean disrupted BW per resident were documented. Wilcoxon rank-sum tests were used to assess pairwise differences between classes with Bonferroni-adjusted P-values, as well as differences in the early versus later phase of the pandemic.

Results: Of 373 BW, 56.6% were assigned to virtual curriculum, 39.4% radiology clinical duties, 2.9% illness, and 1.1% reassignment. Scheduling intervention affected 6.2 ± 2.3 (range 1-10) mean BW per resident over the 10-week study period. The R3 class experienced the largest disruption, greater than the R2 classes, and statistically significantly more than the R1 and R4 classes (both P < 0.05). The second half of the pandemic caused statistically significantly more schedule disruptions than the first half (P = 0.009).

Discussion: The impact of COVID-19 pandemic varied by residency class year, with the largest disruption of the R3 class and the least disruption of the R4 class. To optimize future educational opportunities, shifting to a competency-based education paradigm may help to achieve proficiency without extending the length of the training program.