Interesting post from the Commonwealth Fund on the impact of COVID-19 pandemic is having on office visits. The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically changed how outpatient care is delivered in health care practices. To decrease the risk of transmitting the virus to either patients or health care workers within their practice, providers are deferring elective and preventive visits, such as annual physicals. When possible, they are also converting in-person visits to telemedicine visits. For their part, many patients are also avoiding visits because they do not want to leave their homes and risk exposure. Also influencing both provider and patient behavior are the evolving local and state recommendations restricting travel and nonessential services.
On April 23, the Commonwealth Fund published findings demonstrating that early in the pandemic the number of visits to ambulatory care practices declined by nearly 60 percent. In this new post, they update those data through May 16 and add new results showing how the decline varies by the size of the provider organization.
- Although visits to ambulatory care practices have rebounded since early April after a decline of nearly 60 percent, visits are still roughly a third lower than they were before the pandemic.
- The rebound in provider visits is due to more in-person appointments rather than more telemedicine visits.
- The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Outpatient Visits: A Rebound Emerges. Commonwealth Fund. May 19 2020