The number of veterans’ VHA face-to-face visits decreased by 50% during the COVID-19 pandemic, while the volume of virtual visits surged by more than 360%.
- A new study found that many veteran patients stopped seeing doctors directly during the pandemic and instead switched to virtual care.
- The number of face-to-face visits decreased by more than 50% from December 2019 to December 2020
- Virtual care visits increased usage by more than 300% over the same period
- Overall, few Americans have access to medical care during a pandemic, and many lack regular screening and treatment, raising concerns about long-term trends.
Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients COVID-19 (New Coronavirus Infection) Pandemic, new research has been discovered.
Veterans Affairs Palo Alto Healthcare Systems and Stanford University Collaborative Research Team CaliforniaFound in December 2020 that face-to-face visits to VHA patients decreased by 51.5% compared to December of the previous year.
Researchers also found a 362.7 percent increase in virtual medical visits over the same period.
There are also concerns that overall health care use will decline between 2019 and 2020, indicating that many people missed regular treatment and other preventive screening during the pandemic. increase.
Researchers have found that face-to-face medical visits have declined sharply during the COVID-19 pandemic, dropping by more than 50%. However, virtual visits surged, with four times as many patients using it.Total health care usage has decreased overall
The overall reduction in health care use during the COVID-19 pandemic could have caused thousands of deaths unrelated to the virus as people skipped regular treatment and screening for other conditions. ..Photo: A woman in New York City, NY, is receiving medical care at the VHA Medical Center on April 24.
Researchers who presented their findings at the JAMA Network Open on Thursday investigated the health records of patient visits using VHA or paid by a third-party healthcare provider’s agency.
From January 2019 to March 2021, there were approximately 180 million medical visits to 6.7 million patients.
The team compared the encounter data from April 2019 to April 2020 to see how the patient first responded to the pandemic.
Overall patient care, face-to-face or virtual, decreased by 43.8% from 7.5 million in 2019 to 4.2 million a year later.
The main reason for this loss was a sharp drop in face-to-face visits, a 88% drop from 4.7 million to 532,000 between April 2019 and 2020.
Researchers found a surge in virtual visits in the first month of the pandemic, but the number of virtual doctor visits in April 2020 was 1.9 million, 317% more than the 454,000 visits of the previous year. ..
The team then compared figures from December 2019 to December 2020 to see how patient behavior changed nine months after the pandemic occurred.
Although the margins were much smaller, overall doctor consultation was still lower in 2022 than in 2019.
The number of visits by VHA doctors in December 2019 was 6.9 million. This figure fell to 6.4 million in 2020, down 6.6%.
Patients are more comfortable returning to the office than before, with visits halving from 3.9 million in December 2019 to 1.9 million in 2020. This is not as low as it was seen in April.
The number of virtual visits increased at a similar rate, increasing 363% from 400,000 visits in December 2019 to 1.8 million in 2020.
“Our results show that VHA is more likely to adopt a more conservative resumption strategy compared to community healthcare providers,” the researchers write about their findings. ..
The overall decline in patients seeking medical care is a worrying trend pointed out by many experts around the world.
For many patients who receive regular treatment in a variety of conditions, pandemics can interrupt treatment and cause preventable death.
There was a notable rise Especially drug overdose -A record 96,000 people died from overdose in the United States between March 2020 and 2021-Many users were missing or did not seek treatment.
People seeking treatment during a pandemic are often in poorer than average condition, and routine testing and screening interrupted by Covid overlooks a detectable condition until serious problems occur. It may have been.
More people may be dying from these factors Ancillary causes Rather than dying from the virus itself during a pandemic.
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