Missed Doctor’s Appointments During COVID: What to Expect

Missed Doctor’s Appointments During COVID: What Are the Consequences?

From missed physicals to postponed colonoscopies, Americans skipped out on thousands of medical appointments during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, all to slow the spread and avoid being infected by the virus.

That caution, however, is expected to result in dire consequences, including 10,000 breast and colorectal cancer deaths over the next decade. “These delays potentially have long-term consequences that we still don’t know about,” Monah Shah, senior program officer at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, told the Wall Street Journal. Medical professionals agree that you shouldn’t ignore any symptoms you may be experiencing and that you can safely visit with your doctor, either in-person or via a telehealth option.

How Many Doctor’s Appointments Did Americans Skip During The Pandemic?

In March and April 2020, consumer spending on health care dropped year-over-year for the first time in six decades, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Roughly $2.7 billion in weekly health spending came to an abrupt stop. Recent census surveys show that roughly a quarter of adults still aren’t going to their doctor’s appointments for medical care, despite an ongoing vaccination rollout.

What About Skipped Medical Testing?

At the same time, coronavirus testing is dropping dramatically due to vaccinations and what experts call “pandemic fatigue.” This can make it more difficult for medical professionals to track future outbreaks. Since January 2021, testing has dropped by more than half. Like your medical appointments, BioReference also encourages those who have been exposed to COVID or who are experiencing COVID-like symptoms to get tested. Our tests deliver results within 30 minutes.

In terms of Americans skipping doctor’s appointments, researchers say there is a silver lining. Engy Ziedan, an assistant professor of economics at Tulane University, told Bloomberg that the pandemic served as an experiment into the cost-effectiveness of medical care in the United States.