Emergency Department Usage Declines during COVID-19 Pandemic

Emergency Department Usage Declines during COVID-19 Pandemic

COVID-19 Pandemic has decreased the use of emergency departments. Two health researchers have described a decrease in emergency department use during the COVID-19 pandemic. Their researches have been published in JAMA Health Forum and a commentary piece.

An associate professor of emergency medicine and learning health sciences at Michigan Medicine and a member of the University of Michigan Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation, Keith Kocher, M.D., MPH says, “While data are still being collected and reviewed, we know there was a dramatic drop in patients seeking care in emergency departments during March and April 2020.”

Kocher, along with Michelle Macy, MD, MS, of Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago have highlighted in the commentary, the major reasons for the decline. They also highlighted their implications that include department demand being related to patients’ physical and social environments.

Macy says, “Social distancing, frequent hand washing and wearing masks in public, all help lower the transmission of viruses and infectious illnesses, which are often reasons why patients, especially children, seek emergency care.” The epidemiology of the injuries had changed during the pandemic. Due to less traveling, fewer motor vehicle accidents occurred and health care administration and policy decisions affected patients’ ability to obtain care.

“This is truly tragic because if someone is experiencing concerning symptoms, we want them to come in as quickly as possible for care,” Kocher says. “Our emergency department is safe and ready to care for you.” The cited commentary: “Emergency Department Patients in the Early Months of the COVID-19 Pandemic: What Have We Learned?” JAMA Health Forum.

Guest Writer

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