Patient Safety | 06.16.21
The Pandemic Is Leading Doctors to Rethink Unnecessary Treatment
The pandemic has furnished an unprecedented database for doctors to compare patients who received a particular test or treatment with those who did not, revealing insights that could radically change their approach to reducing unnecessary treatment. A study by the Research Consortium for Health Care Value Assessment determined that COVID provided an important new metric by analyzing outcomes for patients who received treatment before hospitals canceled care due to the pandemic and those who had their care canceled. Tests of interest that were performed less often during the pandemic included colonoscopies on patients older than 85; hemoglobin blood work for Type 2 diabetics; semi-elective surgeries like knee arthroscopy for articular cartilage surgery; and annual dental x-rays. Heather Lyu of Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School said much testing and care was skipped because of patients' anxiety about contracting the virus in a medical setting and because medical facilities and staffers were struggling just to keep pace with COVID cases.