COVID-19: The Ever-Changing Healthcare Environment and Patient Experience
In April, it was reported that patients are delaying their medical procedures, skipping doctor visits and avoiding hospitals due to fear of contracting COVID. In our May survey, we sought some clarity on the subject as fears rose among health care providers that patients might be ignoring symptoms of what could be serious conditions, and we discovered a silver lining: 86% of respondents from the general health population said they are not ignoring symptoms of what could be a serious condition because of fears of contacting COVID-19 while visiting a doctor’s office or hospital, while more than half of respondents did voice concerns about being exposed to COVID-19 or other illnesses if they were to need surgery now or in the future.
Technology has played a major role in our shift to quarantine-mode. We have learned to rely on technology to order our groceries, attend work meetings, catch up with friends, and even “attend” our doctor’s appointments. Given our newfound understanding of and comfort relying on technology to complete day-to-day tasks, it does not come as a shock that, more than 63% of respondents think healthcare providers should offer virtual appointments, whenever possible, and they will ask their doctors if they have a telemedicine platform available should pandemic conditions prevail.While telemedicine applications have been available for years, they were never a first choice for physicians or their patients. However, we have seen a significant increase in use since the beginning of the pandemic. Our survey indicated that the way telemedicine is delivered makes a difference.