The Question: What is the Clinical Impact of COVID-19?
The Decline in Outpatient and Preventative Health Services
It is well known that the pandemic has negatively impacted our community, but there are some consequences that most are not aware of. The number of provider visits has significantly decreased due to the pandemic, which has led to several additional negative impacts other than the virus itself.
According to a research study by the American Medical Association, more than 40% of patients stopped receiving medical care at the beginning of the pandemic. To go into further detail…
The fear of getting infected by COVID-19 has prevented patients from visiting their primary care physician. Instead of going to see the doctor when they are feeling ill, patients are staying home to avoid exposure. What most of these patients don’t realize is that avoiding the doctor to get proper treatment for being ill can also lead to worsening conditions. It also has led to a decline in preventative care, including annual wellness visits, health screenings, and hospital follow-up visits, among others. This negative impact is mostly seen amongst surgical and pediatric care, which can lead to severe health conditions.
with a scheduled elective surgical procedure missed it.
missed scheduled preventative care.
Post Covid, Mental Health
with a severe mental or physical health issue that emerged after the start of the pandemic forwent care.
missed general medical care
Ongoing Mental Health Care
with scheduled mental health care reported missing visits.
didn’t pick up a prescription and missed one or more doses.
The Rise of Telemedicine
The decline in primary care visits has led to the rise of telemedicine. Tele-visits did not only fit the guidelines of the lockdown period, but have also shown to be super convenient for most patients by allowing them to address their individual health concerns to their doctor from the comfort of their own home. Although virtual visits are convenient, it did not help the issue of the decline in health screenings. As mentioned in our article Being RiskAverse: GET SCREENED, COVID has made screening rates even worse, and are now 90% lower than pre-pandemic levels. This will have huge implications as more cases will be detected later – leading to more deaths and higher medical costs.
Telemedicine has definitely been very beneficial during the pandemic, especially because of the stigma and fear of going to a healthcare facility in the middle of one. However, these virtual visits do not solve the problem that only 8% of adults over 35 are up-to-date with their screenings, which have already decreased by almost 90% compared to pre-pandemic times. The pandemic has derailed healthy habits and increased both stress and anxiety for most Americans. This has been especially bad for those with pre-existing chronic conditions (i.e. obesity and hypertension).
If you are past due and have concerns about exposure, reach out to your doctor by scheduling a telemedicine visit and see what he or she suggests. Telemedicine is a great way to stay in contact and communicate with your physician. Although most virtual health screenings are not possible, your doctor can use his or her resources to help you figure out how to get screened while limiting exposure. Staying up-to-date with our screenings and overall preventative care is extremely beneficial to our overall health. Let us all be well and healthy during the holidays!
Are You Screened?
Not sure if you are due for a health screening? We cover many of the major screening statuses in our health assessments. Select one to see your status.
Concerns with Mental Health
Mental health has hit an all-time high since the beginning of the pandemic. Assess your mental health for our represented conditions and address your results with your care provider.