The survey measures delays in health care during the onset of the pandemic

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Early in the COVID-19 outbreak, a researcher at the University of Illinois at Chicago conducted a survey asking respondents if they were experiencing delays in health care due to the pandemic. In addition to learning about the types of delays, the study also presented a unique opportunity to capture a historic moment at the beginning of the pandemic.

Elizabeth Papautsky, assistant professor of biomedical and health information sciences at the UIC, is the first author of “Characterizing Health Delays and Disruptions in the United States during the COVID-19 Pandemic Using Data from an Internet-Based Cross- Sectional Survey “, published in Journal of Medical Internet Research.

The study was conducted through an Internet survey from April 5 to May 5, 2020 and more than 2,500 people responded. The results showed that 48% of respondents experienced a delay in medical care, with the three most frequent delays being dental (38%), preventive (29%) and diagnostic (16%).

According to the study, fear of COVID-19 infection, discouragement of health care providers, and the feeling that their health concerns were not as important as others were the main reasons why people mentioned delay attention.

The results of the study are not surprising, but worrisome, as the implications may include long-term decline, Papautsky said. For example, due to the impact of COVID-19 on preventive and diagnostic care, an increase in cancer diagnoses and in higher stages is expected, he added.

Despite a show of convenience, which is often frowned upon in research, Papautsky said, important lessons can be learned.

“We captured a fleeting moment in time,” he said. “This is an opportunity to learn to research in very dynamic situations. What lessons can we learn when there are other situations where you need to do a survey quickly and how can we do it better.”

One surprising thing about the study was the number of respondents: 2,570 people, invited through social media, completed the 40-minute survey.

“People really cared about that. That demonstrates the power of and the power to ask questions that concern people, ”Papautsky said.

Although the conditions of this study cannot be replicated, the methodological lessons learned can serve as a kind of pilot study for future crises, creating more diverse and inclusive research that drives equity forward, the study reports.

“There is an urgent need to share lessons learned, to disseminate effective strategies to reach more diverse populations and to encourage employ and improve these strategies in future research, ”Papautsky said.


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More information:
Elizabeth Lerner Papautsky et al, Characterization of delays and disruptions in health care in the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic: an Internet-based cross-sectional survey study, Journal of Medical Internet Research (2021). DOI: 10.2196 / 25446

Citation: Survey Measures Delays in Health Care During Pandemic Start (2021, May 20) Retrieved May 20, 2021 at https://medicalxpress.com/news/2021-05-survey-health -pandemic.html

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