Delay in Care Worsening Medical Conditions for Many, Though Telehealth Is Filling Some Gaps
Survey Shows Return to Normalcy by September 2021 for Healthcare in Several Areas
King of Prussia, PA (March 23, 2021) – MSI International, a leading global strategic market research firm, today issued the results of its Medical Care Delay Study, showing the long-term impacts for patients with conditions other than COVID-19.
Due to safety concerns, more than half (54%) of all patients in the U.S. either delayed or had healthcare postponed for all types of medical care, which can have a negative impact on care outcomes. In fact, more than half (54%) of those who delayed care said that their condition got worse due to the delay. The types of care most impacted by delays were required surgery, elective surgery and diagnostic procedures.
The survey also offers a glimmer of hope, with over half of participants stating that vaccines will be one of the key reasons for proceeding with medical care. With that being a catalyst, the findings show a return to normalcy with respect to healthcare, with over half of survey participants saying COVID-19 will be under control by September 2021.
In addition, the study found that over half of Americans are planning to resume delayed medical care in the next 2-3 months. The most prevalent healthcare areas to pick up are as follows:
- Dental care (62%)
- Required surgery (59%)
- Ongoing treatment (59%)
- Routine checkups (58%)
- Diagnostic procedures (53%)
- Elective surgery (50%)
“The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges to providing medical care for patients with conditions other than COVID-19 in the U.S.,” said Paul Strasser, President of MSI International. “We found it especially worrisome that a majority of people reported cutting back on their medical care. Clearly a return to normalcy for the healthcare community is very important, both for patients suffering from chronic conditions and for healthcare providers. We hope that these results will shed a light on where the healthcare industry is headed this year and help care providers return to normal.”
Below are additional key highlights from MSI’s survey:
- Over half of the U.S. delayed healthcare.
- Roughly two-thirds of those missing healthcare personally delayed or postponed appointments.
- While routine checkups and dental care were most likely to be put off, nearly a quarter of the population delayed/postponed elective (24%) and required (23%) surgery.
- Telemedicine is working.
- Even though many experienced delays, three-fourths of the participants kept some scheduled medical care in the past 6 months.
- Two-thirds of those keeping their scheduled medical care had an in-person appointment changed to remote/virtual.
- Safety concerns were the largest impediment to postponing or delaying healthcare.
- COVID-19 concerns are the single largest reason healthcare was delayed (61%), followed by concerns among medical facilities in providing a safe environment (52%). It is incumbent on healthcare providers to communicate the safety of the experience.
- Concerns about personal safety in receiving medical care are still fairly high.
- The largest areas of concern are urgent/emergency care (53%), dental care (49%) and required surgery (45%).
- Vaccines are critical.
- Over half (54%) state that vaccines are necessary to proceed with medical care. However, responsibility still resides on providers. Forty percent stated that they will proceed when their provider/facility assures them it is safe.
- 13% had already received the vaccine and 65% plan to get the vaccine:
- Most are confident that the vaccine will prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition to medical care delays, the study also asked questions capturing current attitudes and behaviors around COVID-19:
- Attitudes and perceptions towards COVID-19 guidelines
- Compliance with safety guidelines and recommendations
- Attitudes towards the COVID-19 vaccines and likelihood to receive, confidence in their effectiveness and ease of receiving
The survey of 503 Americans was conducted between January 29 and February 5, 2021, and asked questions about their medical care over the past six months. The sample was stratified and weighted to represent the U.S. national population. In addition, the questions were asked specifically regarding several types of care: routine procedures, ongoing treatment, diagnostic exams, dental care, elective surgeries and required surgeries.
Click here to download the report.
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