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Hospital Visit Declines May Have Bottomed Out

Analysis  |  By Alexandra Wilson Pecci  
   May 07, 2020

A new survey also shows generational differences in seeking care and rescheduling elective procedures.

Outpatient hospital visits experienced a record one-week 64% decline during the week of April 5-11, compared to pre-COVID-19 volumes, according to research from TransUnion Healthcare.

However, outpatient hospital visit volumes rose approximately 4% between the weeks of April 5-11 and April 12-18, which was the first increase seen in visit volumes in the time since COVID-19 was labelled a pandemic.

In addition, hospital visit volumes further declined 33%-62% between the weeks of March 1-7 and April 12-18.

Related: Coronavirus: 10 Considerations for Resuming Elective Surgery

The data is from an ongoing analysis of more than 500 hospitals across the United States.

The research also examined generational differences in those willing to seek care during the pandemic and as well as a willingness to reschedule care that had been deferred.

It found:

  • Millennial and Gen Z hospital visit volumes had the least decline (44% decrease for each, respectively) from March 22-28 through April 12-18
  • Baby Boomers and Silent Generation (born between 1925 and 1945) visit volumes had the largest decline (59% and 58%, respectively) from March 22-28 through April 12-18
  • The 4% increase in outpatient visit volumes from the weeks of April 5-11 and April 12-18 was partly driven by the older generations who avoided care during COVID-19
  • Of the Millennial patients who reported having an elective procedure delayed or cancelled as a result of COVID-19 46% plan to reschedule as soon as their healthcare provider allows
  • Of the patients across all generations that had an elective procedure deferred, 39% plan to reschedule as soon as their provider allows

Related: Emerging From Pandemic: LCMC Health CEO Details How the New Orleans System Is Moving On

The survey, fielded during the week of April 13, also looked at the economic impact and found that younger people were more likely to have experienced job loss that affected their health insurance coverage.

Alexandra Wilson Pecci is an editor for HealthLeaders.

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