The global pandemic has created predictable challenges in healthcare and great unrest among people around the world. For those who already have a challenging health condition, delaying scheduled or unplanned care from fear of contracting the virus has sadly proven, in some cases, to be fatal.
“One patient avoided coming into the ER even though he was experiencing stroke symptoms for four or five days. In another example, a person with appendicitis didn’t seek treatment and the appendix ruptured, causing complications.” West Fargo Pioneer, May 2020
“A recent poll found that 48% of Americans said they or a family member has skipped or delayed medical care because of the pandemic, and 11% of them said the person’s condition worsened as a result of the delayed care.” Kaiser Health News, May 2020
“We had eight people die in our ER over a five-day span … people come in in the late stages of diabetic ketoacidosis, of heart attacks that happened days ago and strokes.” CBS News Los Angeles, May 2020
Around the nation, caregivers in hospitals and private practices are predictably seeing fewer patients for non-virus related conditions, as initial guidance appropriately recommended to delay elective procedures and reschedule planned visits. However, in certain situations, such delays and lack of immediate attention have actually resulted in more serious complications. As many reports suggest, it is an extreme “catch-22” for hospitals and patients alike, in that the unknown path from contracting the virus can prove deadly especially for those with underlying pre-existing health conditions. And yet, those same conditions can often lead to accelerated issues when left untreated.
Many medical professionals suggest that while there is risk of contracting the virus, the downside of not treating progressive illnesses can often be too serious to avoid a check-up or emergency medicine. In one example, medical leaders have implemented callbacks to check on patient well-being and learn of any issues that may require immediate care. In the case of a pediatric clinic, one physician notes, “… we don’t want to have kids dying of measles or meningitis or whooping cough … I fear that we’re going to have sickness and death because of that fear.”
Callbacks and proactive patient outreach are increasingly important in this current time and looking ahead with the more permanent shift to value-based care. With tighter budgets and even fewer on-staff resources, hospitals and private practices still must address the need for proactive patient communications.
PREMEDEX has helped hospital systems solve this challenge, with teams of clinical and non-clinical resources connecting with thousands of patients every day. Helping caregivers help patients is essential. Contact PREMEDEX to learn more.