In analyzing data from November and December for its sixth wave of research, the Commonwealth Fund, Phreesia, & Harvard found that, even though there was another surge of COVID-19 cases largely across the country, the number of outpatient practice visits remained stable. When compared to the baseline week of March 1, the November and December outpatient visits were “unchanged”.
The news release also highlighted that “several notable changes” were detected during that time period:
Telemedicine experienced a modest increase of usage again. As seen in the chart below, just over 8% of visits were telemedicine visits.
While those winter months typically see a rise in patient visits, “they were below the levels” in those two months of 2020; particularly among children, which showed a “substantial drop”. A typical-year shows a 7-10% increase above baseline for December visits among children ages 0-2. In December 2020, visits were 20-21% below baseline for that age group. A typical-year trend for December visits by children ages 3-5 shows a 6-10% increase above baseline. In December 2020, a 34-38% decrease was recorded for the age group. A typical-year trend for December visits by patients ages 6-17 range from 3% above baseline to 1% below baseline. In December 2020, an 18-25% below baseline was charted for the age group. Older age groups “remained more stable”.
While all specialties saw declines during the pandemic, the report queried, “One critical question is whether visit volumes will rise above the baseline level as we gain increasing control over the pandemic and people receive care that had been deferred.”
In honor of American Heart Month in February, PatientPoint and the American Heart Association have partnered to highlight stories from heart attack and stroke survivors from the 2021 Class of Go Red for Women® Real Women campaign. These stories will be shared on PatientPoint’s digital waiting room screens and exam room touchscreens throughout the US over the course of the rest of the year.
According to the news release, among the Real Women featured are:
Dani Aylsworth: A 33-year-old Army combat veteran who battled PTSD, addiction, and heart failure.
Megan Corbin: A 30-year-old professional dancer who had a heart attack despite being in top form.
Melissa Sloan-Williams: A 39-year-old registered medical assistant who developed Type 2 diabetes and had a heart attack in her early 30s.
Steffany Quintana: A 26-year-old who lost the ability to talk, swallow food, and walk unassisted after her stroke last year.
Go Red for Women, which is sponsored by CVS Health, is an initiative from the American Heart Association to raise awareness and end heart disease and stroke in women. As noted in the Real Stories video, one in three women will die from cardiovascular disease annually, making it the leading killer of women in the US. The news release also cited how “research shows heart attacks are on the rise in younger women and new data suggests younger generations of women, Gen Z and Millennials, along with Black and Hispanic women, are less likely to be aware of their greatest health threat, including knowing the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes.”
The Real Stories at the point of care serves to educate women so they understand the signs and symptoms (which are often different symptoms than what men experience) and to inspire them to make heart health a top priority in conjunction with their overall health management.
Ensuring equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines has been a top concern in the rollout process. According to a brief by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), “National recommendations regarding vaccine distribution have emphasized the importance of ensuring equitable access, particularly for disproportionately affected groups, including people of color.” KFF identified some key barriers when it comes to vaccinating disproportionately affected groups, including people of color.
“Data for existing vaccinations show people of color are less likely to be vaccinated compared to their White counterparts,” noted KFF. Access-related challenges, such as higher uninsured rates, often contribute to the lack of health care. “Although the government has indicated that the COVID-19 vaccine will be made available at no cost, it will be important for people to know how they can access it for free in order to reduce potential cost concerns as a barrier, particularly for people who are uninsured.”
Additionally, a lack of trust, given the medical abuses and mistreatment in history, as well as concerns around safety are prime reasons why some people of color say they would not get the vaccine. And in today’s current climate, many still feel race-based discrimination. Citing a recent KFF/The Undefeated survey, an article update from KFF stated: “For example, the survey showed that seven in ten Black adults believe race-based discrimination in health care happens very or somewhat often, and Black adults were more likely than White adults to report certain negative experience with health care providers, including feeling that a provider didn’t believe they were telling the truth, being refused a test or treatment they thought they needed, and being refused pain medication.”
When interviewing more than 1,000 adults via the KFF COVID-19 Vaccine Monitor, 47% of Black adults and 47% of Hispanic adults stated side effects as their biggest concern.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “race / ethnicity was known for just over half (55%) of people who had received at least one dose of the vaccine” on a national-level. In the updated reporting released last week, KFF shared COVID-19 vaccinations by demographics on the state-level, as reported by 34 states. The KFF analysis found “a largely consistent pattern of Black and Hispanic people receiving smaller shares of vaccinations compared to their shares of cases and deaths and compared to their shares of the total population. For example, in Texas, 20% of vaccinations have gone to Hispanic people, while they account for 42% of cases, 47% of deaths, and 40% of the total population in the state. Similarly, in Mississippi, Black people have received 22% of vaccinations, while they make up 38% of cases, 40% of deaths, and 38% of the total population in the state.” When evaluating the data on Asian populations, KFF found the share of vaccinations, typically, to be similar to their share of cases and deaths. In states where differences were identified, “they were generally small.”
In a data update, KFF also found that, in analyzing vaccination rates across the 26 states reporting racial / ethnic data for people who have received at least one dose, the total average vaccination rate for White people is 10%, Asian people is 8%, Black people is 5%, and Hispanic people is 3%.
The authors concluded by stating, “Together, these data raise concerns about disparities in vaccination but are also subject to gaps, limitations, and inconsistencies that limit the ability to compare data across states and draw strong conclusions. The data are still early, with vaccinations not yet broadly available to the public in many areas. Moreover, some states have high shares of vaccination data with unknown race / ethnicity and / or reporting ‘other or multiple races.’ Further, 18 states and the District of Columbia are not yet reporting vaccinations by race/ethnicity. Comprehensive standardized data across states will be vital to monitor and ensure equitable access to and take up of the vaccine.”
DTC Perspectives was organized in 2000 to focus on pharmaceutical marketing and in 2001 we launched The DTC National. In later years we organized conferences on Hospital Marketing, Multicultural Communications, OTC Marketing, and Disease Education.
To better describe what we do, we are excited to refer to our conference series as Xpectives.Health. We see our business model as providing educational services to companies that market healthcare products and services to consumers. We are still intensely focused on the DTC world of pharmaceuticals but recognize the much broader base of companies that market health directly to consumers.
From now on you will see the name Xpectives.Health used to describe our conference offerings. In October 2021, we will have our first post-pandemic in-person event since April 2019. We are thrilled to offer the in-person DTC National again in 2021. In addition, we are adding other conferences on Hospital, OTC, Womens’ Health, Forum on Virtual Health, and Forum on Social and Technology under one roof. This is called the Xpectives.Health Summit.
For those used to attending The DTC National, we will offer everything we have in the past but you will also have the opportunity to attend sessions of interest at these other conferences. We look forward to offering all consumer healthcare marketers educational and networking opportunities at the Xpectives.Health Summit.
As we lead up to our event in Boston on Oct 12-14, we are offering numerous virtual events across industries under the Xpectives.Health Virtual Series. We are thrilled with the attendance at the events we have done to date and expect our virtual events will remain as a permanent part of our offerings. While nothing is better than seeing our marketing colleagues in person, we see the virtual events as a complementary alternative.