Delayed Preventive Care and Telehealth Usage Still Trending Post-COVID

Delayed Preventive Care and Telehealth Usage Still Trending Post-COVID

COVID has lingering effects—even for those who never got sick.

Two studies share new insight on healthcare industry trends that skyrocketed during the pandemic—delayed preventive care and telehealth usage.

A study from the American Cancer Society (ACS) takes a fresh look at just how many critical preventive screenings were missed during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020—and it’s in the MILLIONS.

We already knew that people delay care because it’s just too complicated to find and schedule appointments. The pandemic added lockdowns and fear of interacting with providers who were seeing sick patients to the mix. The ACS data compares breast and cervical cancer screenings in 2018 to 2020—finding a total of 6.6 million fewer screening appointments.

Going to the doctor was scary, so telemedicine use took off during the pandemic. A Kaiser Family Foundation study finds that even after the height of the pandemic, telehealth remains popular, particularly for mental healthcare. Researchers say that more than one-third of patients (36%) choose virtual options for mental healthcare access.

What does all this data mean?? Now, more than ever, healthcare professionals must meet patients with easier ways to access care. To those who do will go the spoils of this massive opportunity to serve patients. And to do that, all we need to do is follow what patients—and the data—are telling us. People want help navigating the overly complex process of finding, scheduling and coordinating healthcare. And they want care in a way that meets them where they are (including, still, when where they are is at home.)

Just look at what happened when one Medicare Advantage member recently received a call from a ReferWell care navigator offering to schedule the member’s overdue screenings. The navigator reports:

“I called a member who needed to schedule two screening appointments but did not enjoy the appointment scheduling process. She was happy I was able to get an appointment for her mammogram and send her an at-home colon cancer test kit.”

It’s time for healthcare to admit that the standard way of navigating care—well, it really stinks. But there is a better way, and it’s by taking advantage of the advancements in technology and intervening at the referable moment with tech-enabled service.

close colorectal and breast cancer care gaps

Written by Vytas Kisielius

Vytas has a long career building successful companies in many different capacities across the financial, IT and healthcare sectors. As ReferWell’s CEO, he works tirelessly to ensure ReferWell thrives within the market. Vytas draws on his extensive experience in creating a cohesive, hard working team while building and executing a focused strategy aimed at leading the way in revolutionizing healthcare delivery.

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