Good experience

Discomfort in Seeking Medical Treatment Rises due to Pandemic Fear

Written by Jimmy Rustling

A new report shows that over the past year, Americans’ willingness to seek medical care has been negatively impacted by fear of contracting the coronavirus. In 2020, there was nearly a 20% decrease in comfort seeking medical care with nearly 70% of individuals having put off some kind of care due to the COVID-19.

The statistics come from a study conducted by Weiss & Paarz which sought to understand how the COVID-19 pandemic influenced individuals’ attitudes towards in-person care and reasons why they may have neglected care throughout 2020. Based on the survey, comfort levels have completely shifted.

The biggest concerns that dissuaded individuals from seeking medical care varied, but the most common factors included the sharing of physical space with other patients despite social distancing measures, as well as sharing physical space with others they may come in contact with during a medical visit, including doctors themselves. Although medical professionals might seem safe to be around, given they are well-versed in hygiene and COVID-19 safety, this fear is completely valid. In fact, the Washington Post reports that as of the end of March 2021, many medical professionals still had not received a COVID-19 vaccine.

The impact of this concern was to keep many people away from the doctor’s office. There was an 18% increase in the number of telehealth appointments booked in 2020 as compared to the previous year, with the percentage of individuals seeking telehealth in the past year reaching as much as 61%.

But what about those medical visits and procedures that require an in-person visit to a doctor’s office or hospital? As it turns out, many individuals decided not to go into their in-person appointments. Nearly 70% of individuals put off some kind of medical care due to COVID-19, with about a third of individuals putting off their care for anywhere from two to four weeks.

The survey also asked individuals when they believed they might regain comfort in seeking medical treatment. 46% of individuals said that it would take a full month of COVID-19 being, “under control,” in order for them to return to pre-pandemic comfort levels. However, for those who need to return to the doctor sooner rather than later, the CDC has written up some guidelines on how to safely receive medical care during the pandemic. They also suggest maximizing telehealth and drive-thru visits to stay safe.

You can review the full study around individuals’ attitudes towards medical care during the pandemic era here.

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About the author

Jimmy Rustling

Born at an early age, Jimmy Rustling has found solace and comfort knowing that his humble actions have made this multiverse a better place for every man, woman and child ever known to exist. Dr. Jimmy Rustling has won many awards for excellence in writing including fourteen Peabody awards and a handful of Pulitzer Prizes. When Jimmies are not being Rustled the kind Dr. enjoys being an amazing husband to his beautiful, soulmate; Anastasia, a Russian mail order bride of almost 2 months. Dr. Rustling also spends 12-15 hours each day teaching their adopted 8-year-old Syrian refugee daughter how to read and write.