The role of teleradiology during COVID-19 outbreak: Saudi radiologists' perspectives

Saudi Med J. 2023 Feb;44(2):202-210. doi: 10.15537/smj.2023.44.2.20220793.


Objectives: To evaluate the role of teleradiology during the COVID-19 pandemic from Saudi radiologists' perspectives to improve the radiology quality service.

Methods: A cross-sectional study was carried out in Saudi Arabia among radiologists working at local hospitals from October to November 2021. It contains 21 questions involved demographic information; general information on teleradiology services; and the impact of teleradiology during COVID-19. One-way ANOVA was used to compare demographic groups. Chi-square test was used to compare demographic groups regarding their distribution of responses. All tests were carried out <0.05 level of significance.

Results: A total of 102 radiologists participated in this study (56% males, 44% females), 58.8% of them were sub-specialized in chest radiology. Regarding the general status of teleradiology, 69.6% of participants believed that teleradiology is a helpful tool for imaging interpretation. However, 44% of them were uncertain on the impact of teleradiology on patients' confidentiality. Approximately 87% of participants agreed that there is a positive contribution of teleradiology during COVID-19, which enables decreasing risk of infection and workload. There was a significant difference between professional degrees and overall participant responses (p<0.05). Academicians agreed that it enhances radiology departments' work (mean=17.78, SD=1.86).

Conclusion: Concerns raised on complicated cases that require physical presence of patients, cannot be performed by teleradiology. Additionally, it might provide insufficient communication with other professionals to discuss images.

Keywords: COVID-19; communication; image interpretation; patient’s confidentiality; radiology; teleradiology.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pandemics
  • Radiologists
  • Saudi Arabia / epidemiology
  • Teleradiology*