In-person primary care fell dramatically in first 2 months of COVID-19, study finds

General health services decreased by 23 percent in March and 52 percent in April, compared to the same duration in 2018-19, according to a Nov. 5 research study published in JAMA Network Open.

Erica Carbajal –
Friday, November 6th, 2020

Researchers examined employer-sponsored insurance claims from 6.8 million patients across the U.S. in March and April. Modifications in the use of preventive services, nonelective care, elective procedures, prescription drugs, in-person sees and telemedicine gos to were cross-analyzed and compared to trends from 2018-19..

The research study discovered considerable decreases in preventive and elective care:.

1. Colonoscopies fell by nearly 70 percent in patients ages 46 to 64.

2. Mammograms among women aged 46 to 62 saw a relative decrease of 67 percent.

3. Hemoglobin A1c blood tests decreased by nearly 51 percent.

4. Vaccinations in kids ages zero to 2 years fell by 22.3 percent..

5. Chemotherapy treatments fell by about 4 percent.

6. Making use of musculoskeletal surgery reduced by 47.4 percent, almost 60 percent for cataract surgery and 45 percent for MRIs..

Racial/ethnic disparities were likewise observed, with locals in lower-income or primarily minority populations seeing smaller reductions in care and lower rates of telemedicine use..

No significant modifications were reported in using prescription drugs. Telemedicine services saw a thriving increase of 1,270 percent in March and 4,081 percent in April, however these increases did not considerably balance out the decrease of in-person visits, according to the research study..

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If these trends continue, “innovative approaches” will be needed to make sure quality and prompt access to care, researchers said..

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