2020 was a difficult time for everyone. The impacts of COVID-19 on the country were hardly unnoticed, and the medical field was no exception. Yet, despite the soaring number of confirmed cases, 40% of practices saw patient volume drop over the last year. As a result of the pandemic, the medical field experienced financial stress, job loss, and clinics being shut down. Here’s why patient volume dropped so much in 2020.

Decreased Revenue

The first reason why patient volume dropped so much in 2020 is due to the financial strain the coronavirus has placed on the medical field. Once the coronavirus pandemic began, it greatly changed the medical field. There was suddenly an overwhelming influx of COVID patients, doctors and hospitals quickly ran short of supplies. 

As medical teams worked around the clock, they were paid overtime, hospitals lost resources, and individuals cancelled their regular outpatient appointments. Patients were afraid of going near hospitals or clinics out of fear of contracting the virus. 

Medical institutions were forced to spend more money on payroll, supplies, and procedures, and there was a drastic decrease in revenue as people stayed home and cancelled any unnecessary appointments. 

Inpatient Care Vs Outpatient Care

Although the number of COVID cases was rising, it wasn’t enough to offset the drastic drop in other medical-related procedures in other parts of the health system. 

Inpatient care rose drastically. Individuals were administered overnight for observation and treatment, and hospital beds quickly filled up. COVID brought with it a huge influx of inpatient care.

Outpatient treatment, on the other hand, fell drastically over 2020. People limited their exposure to the world and cancelled unnecessary appointments. As fewer people left their houses, fewer accidents happened, lowering the total amount of outpatient treatment required from emergency services. 

Other individuals simply cancelled appointments altogether as they wanted to stay as isolated as possible. The amount of revenue lost from the decrease in outpatient procedures was not offset by the influx of inpatient procedures. This loss of revenue caused some clinics, primarily those in smaller towns, to close down or relocate, thus allowing fewer patients to be seen at all.

Although it’s impossible to know for certain what the future of the medical field will look like, one thing is for sure. The medical field is under enormous stress as they continue to treat patients while lacking the necessary funding and resources. 

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