Specialists expand hours, services to recoup COVID-19 losses; 75% expect 2nd wave


Most hard-hit specialists believe the COVID-19 pandemic will have a lasting effect on their practices, according to a new Spherix Global survey shared by Tioga Publishing.

On May 8, Spherix Global surveyed 265 dermatologists, gastroenterologists, nephrologists, neurologists and rheumatologists.

Six key takeaways:

1. Seventy-eight percent of specialists surveyed said the pandemic will have a lasting effect on practice operations, and 75 percent expect to see a resurgence of COVID-19 cases as businesses reopen.

2. Gastroenterologists reported a 93 percent decrease in volumes compared to normal. Nearly 50 percent of specialists said they expect it will take at least four months for patient volumes to return to somewhat normal.

3. While telemedicine usage has steadily increased, it hasn't come close to filling the gap for dermatology and gastroenterology practices, which heavily rely on revenue from elective procedures.

4. To recoup losses, more than 60 percent of physician practices surveyed have applied for a small business loan under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security Act. Some specialists are working extra hours and others plan to offer new services upon reopening.

5. One gastroenterologist's practice is using "existing equipment to perform and bill for new outpatient ancillary tests such as ultrasound liver elastography for fatty liver." The group is also using telemedicine to lower rates of no-shows.

6. About 40 percent of specialists said they're receptive to virtually engaging with industry manufacturers at this time. Most dermatology, gastroenterology and rheumatology specialists said AbbVie has been the most supportive manufacturer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

More articles on specialty centers:
4 COVID-19 supply considerations for ASCs
5 hospitals, health systems opening or planning ASCs
ASCs reopening to patients: Check these 7 boxes 

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