Here is a summary of industry and PHO news as well as our team insights, since returning to the field post Covid 19 lockdown.
What’s been happening out there?
- Patient visits to General Practice have been down, the ProCare co-payment data showed a 40% reduction in Level 4 and 3
- 68% of General Practices relied on telephone for consulting, with only 24% embracing video and phone consulting
- Telehealth has been an excellent option for those who couldn’t gain access to a GP, however anecdotally, there are some reports of the limited nature of telehealth.
A proportion of phone-based consults result in the same outcome: “You’d better come into the surgery for a closer look”
- We have come through the 1st wave, and economic commentary agrees the 2nd wave we are entering into now, will show the impact of resource restriction from Level 4 and 3 on non-COVID conditions.
Many practices are seeing a rise in consultations due to postponements and delays.
- MediBoard team has had an overwhelmingly positive response to returning to work last week, accessing 90% of sites visited and our sanitisation protocols and onboard notices are being well received.
Reports from the field in Auckland, Tauranga and Hamilton show there has been uplift of brochures from MediBoards over the lock down time period
- Times are tough for business out there and marketing budgets are under pressure – many like never before. We know bringing people relevant, visible content in a point-of-care environment is a highly targeted and low risk strategy. We can expect this to continue to be the case as our way of life slowly reverts back to a new normal
New Zealand Doctor surveyed readers to find out how they are feeling about the present and the future in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic
- Acknowledging the level of economic pain over lockdown to business including General Practices, with many reporting feeling uncertain over that period
- Other themes to emerge include how the pandemic response has led to new ways of working, the adoption of technology, and fostered team spirit
- The chart below looks at consultations that are not in-person.
24% of respondents say their practices have embraced video and phone use, while 68% are mostly relying on the phone.
3% say they are using video consultations, but it hasn’t been an easy transition. 5% say they are keen to do more video consultations but need to have better organised systems.
New Zealand Doctor article from ProCare survey findings: In the New Zealand Doctor, ProCare CFO Tony Wai reported:
- In level 4 and 3 the number of co-payments received was down by more than 40% on average.
- By May 20th when the article was published, some recovery was evident, anecdotally indicating that the co-payment volumes recovered somewhat in Level 3, down by 20% for two-thirds of practices and by 10% to 20% for a quarter of them
- ProCare’s own research found a 7% likely closure rate if practices don’t get further government funding
Healthcare future impact: Forward View
A look at the future impact on healthcare of COVID -19: the health footprint of a pandemic https://bit.ly/PandemicFootprint, shows an interesting picture of the impact a pandemic can have on a health system.
We have come through the 1st wave, and economic commentary agrees that the 2nd wave we are coming into now, will show the impact of resource restriction from Level 4 and 3 on non-COVID conditions.
Many clinics are now seeing a rise in consultations due to postponements and delays.
Perhaps the best guide to what has happened is the daily number of tests reported by the Ministry of Health. It spiked at 10,436 on 24 June and had dropped to 1057 on 5 July.
However, RNZCGP medical director Bryan Betty was reported in the media commenting that GPs were finding people reluctant to be tested while there was no community transmission.
In the words from the Chronicals of Dr Dave:
One way to deal with all of this is to say to the patient, “The ministry says there is no circulating COVID in the community and the ministry says you are at incredibly low risk of having COVID. You can have a test to check if you want, but it is extremely uncomfortable. What do you want to do?” And when they decline, to mark their notes thus.