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Medical practices to continue using PPE and telehealth after pandemic: survey


Doctors anticipate using more personal protective equipment (PPE) and using telehealth more often after the COVID-19-pandemic than they did pre-pandemic.

Doctors anticipate using more personal protective equipment (PPE) and using telehealth more often after the COVID-19-pandemic than they did pre-pandemic, according to results of a recent survey.

The Doctors Company, a medical malpractice insurance company, asked 652 physicians across more than 20 specialties how they think their practice will change as a result of the pandemic. A significant majority—72%—said they will increase their use of personal protective equipment, while 59% said they will use telehealth more frequently.

“Despite the tremendous loss of life and disruptions to so many from the COVID-19 pandemic, this survey indicates there are likely to be positive changes for patients and physicians going forward that will hopefully lead to safer, higher quality, and more patient-friendly healthcare,” said David L. Feldman, MD, MBA, chief medical officer for The Doctors Company.

Detailed survey results follow, along with a selection of comments from respondents.

Anticipated post-pandemic increases compared to before the pandemic

  • PPE use: 72%
  • Telehealth use: 59%
  • Remote patient monitoring: 29%
  • Work hours: 19%
  • In-office patient capacity for near future: 16%
  • Employment of advanced practice providers: 10%

Anticipated post-pandemic decreases compared to pre-pandemic

  • In-office patient capacity for near future: 36%
  • Work hours: 23%
  • PPE use: 4%
  • Telehealth use: 4%
  • Remote patient monitoring: 3%
  • Employment of advanced practice providers: 3%

No change anticipated post-pandemic compared to pre-pandemic

  • Work hours: 56%
  • Employment of advanced practice providers: 55%
  • In-office patient capacity for near future: 41%
  • Remote patient monitoring: 38%
  • Telehealth use: 24%
  • PPE use: 20%

Survey respondent comments

  • “Continue heightened PPE use. Remain flexible with telehealth”
  • “Eliminate waiting room magazines. Avoid shaking hands.”
  • “Fewer patients in reception area.”
  • “Educate patients regarding prevention, vaccination and treatment of major illnesses, particularly COVID-19.”
  • “Continue limiting guests that accompany patients to office.”

Survey respondent comments, continued

  • “Use more telehealth for elderly if reimbursement and HIPAA concerns are addressed.”
  • "Continue with cleaning procedures in exam rooms between patients.”
  • “I plan to mask myself more than before the pandemic (especially during flu season)”
  • “Continue screening patients when they arrive for any illness.”
  • “See fewer patients. Work less.”
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