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Insider News: Returning to get necessary health care

Posted by AllWays Health Partners blog team on June 18, 2020

While COVID-19 remains a danger to people across the country, fear of catching coronavirus has created another dangerous health issue: many people are avoiding necessary care. Here are two surveys that outline the problem, along with some insight into why this troubling trend continues despite health care providers urging patients to seek care when needed.

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Partners HealthCare is now Mass General Brigham. Learn about their Safe Care Commitment, which includes the screening, cleaning, and protective steps the system is taking to keep hospitals and patients safe when they need care. 

COVID-19 shifts consumer behavior, attitudes toward health care services by AMCP

A survey by the Alliance of Community Health Plans (ACHP) and the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy (AMCP) finds COVID-19 has impacted the health care of 72% of consumers, with a majority saying they've already delayed or plan to put off health procedures. The findings underscore the issues providers face in convincing consumers to return for in-person care that has been delayed due to the pandemic. Among the findings:

  • 41% delayed health care services, while another 42% feel uncomfortable going to a hospital for any medical treatment and 45% don't want to go to urgent care or a walk-in clinic.
  • 74% believe there will be a resurgence of COVID-19 in the fall or winter, and another 38% said they would delay scheduling elective procedures for another six months, while 27% won't go to a hospital for a diagnostic test.
  • Nearly half reported feeling very comfortable picking up a prescription at their local pharmacy and speaking to a pharmacist about their medication.
  • Only 9% of those surveyed who have gotten a prescription in the past three months used home delivery, compared with 90% who used a local retail pharmacy.
  • 28% of consumers used some type of virtual care over the past three months, nearly triple the previously documented average. Of those people who used telehealth, 89% said they were satisfied with the experience, while 46% said they're comfortable with trying telehealth.

Nearly half of Americans delayed medical care due to pandemic by Kaiser Health News

A poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 48% of Americans or their family members have delayed or avoided getting health care because of the pandemic. Of that percentage, 11% say their condition became worse as a result.

Other findings include:

  • 40% say their mental health has gotten worse due to the stress of the pandemic, with women and those in urban and suburban areas were more likely to say that coronavirus had a negative impact.
  • 3 in 10 adults are experiencing difficulty covering their household expenses, including food and medical bills.
  • 86% of adults report that their overall health has stayed consistent despite delaying care.

Fear of Covid leads other patients to decline critical treatment by The New York Times

Fears around catching COVID-19 in a hospital are widespread, but these anxieties are especially prominent for patients who are at greater risk from the virus--and often, they are the ones who need inpatient care the most. In this story by The New York Times, health care providers discuss the influence of anxiety, which can become irrational or exaggerated, on patients' health decisions during the pandemic. 

One prominent point of concern among patients avoiding care is that their family members and close friends would not be able to visit them in the hospital after undergoing surgery or another procedure. A feeling of control over other aspects of the visit can be one of the best ways to help patients overcome their anxiety around getting critical treatments.

Community webinar series

Sign up for the next events in our virtual community support workshop series, including:

Burnout Prevention and Recovery
Thursday, June 25, 2020 at 1:00 PM- 1:45 PM EST

Strengthening Relationships During Quarantine
Wednesday July 8, 2020 at 12:00 PM - 12:45 PM EST

Topics: COVID-19, Employers

Disclaimer: The content in this blog post represents the clinical opinions of the providers at AllWays Health Partners and is based on the most currently available clinical and governmental guidance.

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