Increasing use of health care services for patients after COVID-19: Research

“This study shows us that, in terms of follow-up visits, a significant amount of health care utilization occurs in the 6 months following the acute phase of SARS-CoV-2 infection, which makes highlights the potential for COVID-19. Sara Y. Tartof, PhD, lead author is an epidemiologist for the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Department of Research & Evaluation and an instructor at the Kaiser Permanente Bernard J. Tyson School. . of Medicine, including in Pasadena. “The 4% increase in encounters applied across a large population is a large number of visits that come with significant costs. The absolute number is large. In this case, more than 27,000 encounters out of 8 healthcare organizations were included in this study. “

Tartof added: “On a broader scale, this study will help healthcare organizations develop their long-term strategic plans to meet the needs of patients after COVID-19 infection.”

This study included patients of all ages from 8 major general health care institutions across the United States who completed diagnostic testing for COVID-19 between March 1 and November 1. 2020. Patients were matched for age, sex, race, ethnicity, location and date of COVID-19 testing and were followed for 6 months. The final matched cohort included 127,859 patients who tested positive for COVID-19 and 127,859 patients who tested negative.


Overall, COVID-19 infections were associated with a 4% increase in healthcare usage over 6 months, mainly due to virtual encounters followed by emergency department visits.

COVID-19-related healthcare visits for 18 conditions are still up 6 months from the acute phase of illness, with the largest increases in COVID-19 use related to:

  • prolong COVID-19
  • hair loss, also known as alopecia
  • bronchitis
  • pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis
  • shortness of breath

In total, additional health care use related to the effects of COVID-19 infection included 212.9 additional cases per 1,000 patients with COVID-19.

This study is one of the largest and most comprehensive studies of COVID use after COVID use in children under 17 years of age.

COVID-19-positive children have increased health care use for more than 6 months due to pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis; irregular heartbeat; shortness of breath; and disorders of the ear, nose and throat.

Debbie Malden, DPhil, lead author is an epidemiologist in the Department of Research & Evaluation and an employee of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Disease Intelligence Service.

This study was conducted in the Vaccine Safety Data Link, a CDC-led research collaboration that incorporates electronic health record databases to conduct large epidemiological studies. The eight data contributor sites are Kaiser Permanente Southern California (main page), Denver Health, Health Partners Institute, Kaiser Permanente Colorado, Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, Kaiser Permanente Washington, and Marshfield Clinic Research Institute.

Source: Eurekalert

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