The impact of the pandemic on outpatient visits – What is the new norm?

The fight against the COVID19 is not yet over, and the frontline warriors are mostly healthcare professionals. But much to everybody’s surprise, the primary healthcare providers and independent practitioners are financially affected by the onset of the novel coronavirus pandemic. General physicians, specialists, psychologists, psychiatrists, or any other therapists who are practicing independently at a small scale are struggling to get through a severe financial crisis induced by the COVID19 crisis.

What do statistics tell us?

Several news stations reported that the in-person visits to local, independent physicians have been plummeting. Around a 50% drop in the volume of patients for the past two-three months shook the private practitioners with new challenges. An analysis report states that the impact of COVID19 is highly overwhelming that it may leave a long-lasting effect on the healthcare business. Around 53% of all independent physicians in the US are worried about the survival of their private practice. They have seen a slump in their revenue for a couple of months now. It is because of the challenges posed by the COVID19 crisis.

Reason behind decrease in the outpatient visits

One of the superficial reasons behind the reduction in the number of out-patient visits is due to the subsequent fear of contracting the virus. With people practicing social distancing and stay-at-home to get themselves devoid of the contagion, people seldom visit local physicians unless it is a health emergency or something related to chronic conditions. It has caused some unprecedented revenue losses that would put solo practitioners out of business. As a result of it, solo practitioners are looking forward to associating with a larger entity or becoming employed.

Telemedicine/Telehealth Services

Independent physicians have been shifting their focus towards telemedicine services to continue their practice and extend their service to the patients. The sudden adoption of telemedicine services has been fruitful to solo practitioners. Patients have also found it convenient to have virtual visits with the doctors. Anything is made possible with technology, and it has shed a ray of hope in the gloomy days of independent physicians. A survey result shows that at the time of crisis, telemedicine and remote patient monitoring have been rapidly increasing since the mid of April. It has also helped independent physicians to stay in business and keep their private practice afloat through the tough times.

With telemedicine growing as an alternative, the payments made for virtual consultations could make up a part of their lost revenue. Despite all this, the road to recovery is far away and seems unpredictable. Still, a lot of health professionals who rely on their private practice find it hard to continue their healthcare business because telehealth is not the panacea but a temporary remedy.


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