Survey: COVID-19 has limited access to needed care
Monday, August 31, 2020
The data is in: COVID-19 has impacted healthcare. Patients included. In all seriousness, it's been a big deal. People took notice. For many individuals — real people with real health conditions — the pandemic has had a profound impact on their lives.
People continue to report that the pandemic has led to a reduction in access to medical care.
According to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Research and Development Survey (CDC RANDS) published recently, as many as 40% of people asked said they had reduced access to medical care because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
However, it’s worth pointing out that almost half (48%) have said that they had reduced access for any reason, including the pandemic.
Telehealth has jumped forward in the gap created by the pandemic, however. CDC RANDS found that 37% of people said their provider now offers a form of telehealth, compared to about 14% who said it was provided before the pandemic.
Even as some say the country is moving beyond the pandemic, healthcare organizations have been pushing for people to return to routine medical care at hospitals and doctors' offices. Providers are encouraging people to return, as the risk of exposure is much less than at the height of the pandemic in March and April.
Other than pushing patients to return so that hospitals and health systems can return to healthy revenues, leaders in healthcare are begging folks to return to their care protocols to reduce any long-term complications that could impact their health.
Another new survey found that more than 70% of respondents will continue using telemedicine after COVID-19.
Telehealth options continue to increase. Other than letting people access care without visiting a medical practice, the selling point is that the technology offers patients the ability to connect without their leaving their homes.
The survey found that 39% of Americans did choose in-person visits during the pandemic, but most (54%) wanted telehealth. Phone consultations and video visits were the two most popular choices for receiving care.
For patients returning to their doctor's practice, most practices require the use of masks, temperature checks, waiting in their vehicle until called into the office, or limited the number of people in the waiting room — or to the patient only.
Dental care had the most reduced access. Most dental practices shuttered during the height of the pandemic, except for emergency cases.
More than 30% of people with one or more chronic conditions reported reduced access, 44% with diabetes, nearly 37% with asthma, and about 33% with hypertension.
Nearly a quarter of respondents said they scheduled a telemedicine appointment, the CDC reported. Those 65 and older were most likely to schedule a remote visit (32%), followed by those from age 45 to 64 (27%) and those between 18 and 44 (18.8%).
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