Michelle Martin, a Health Services Management student at the IU Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health, is currently working as an office supervisor in the Radiology Department at the IU Health Simon Cancer Center. Since early March when the COVID-19 pandemic ensued, Martin said the radiology department at IU Health has seen many changes.
“We went from our normal schedule to, almost overnight, only having around 25% of our normal volume,” Martin said. “A decent portion of our volume comes from primary care offices and surgery clinics. During the COVID-19 pandemic, both of those entities shifted to either virtual visits or to very low volume due to many surgeries being considered ‘elective.’”
Martin’s team also stopped offering screening exams, such as mammography and CT lung screenings. With the newfound time, they were able to assist with IU Health’s COVID-19 response.
“For nearly two months, we closed our main X-ray area and all but two of my staff (including myself) joined the reallocation pool where we were given other tasks to help areas that needed more support,” she said. “Some staff members were sent to COVID-19 testing sites, information desks, and door screenings. I was given the task of making sure all of these people were still getting paid.”
At the beginning of May, Martin’s team returned to their home departments. Since then, the radiology department has slowly increased to normal volumes. In an effort to protect patients and staff, Martin said her team is taking new safety measures.
“We are now tasked with making sure patients are staying socially distant from each other, are properly wearing their masks, and cleaning chairs, pens, clipboards, counters, and everything else patients and staff touch throughout their visit.
“I think the most difficult thing has been reassuring our patients and staff that we are doing everything we can to keep them safe, while also getting push back from some patients who don’t agree with everything we do (like requiring masks and not allowing visitors or chaperones). It has been a wild ride the past four months and quite an interesting time to be in the healthcare field.”