Vennli, a University of Notre Dame startup and national consumer choice research company, has released a nationwide research study focused on the impact of COVID-19 and how consumers are choosing to seek healthcare post-pandemic.
Consumers around the world have expressed concern about how safe it is to pursue inpatient or outpatient medical care due to the quarantine and infection control issues presented by the COVID-19 pandemic. Although much research and effort has gone into changing policies and procedures at hospitals and physician offices to reduce exposure to the COVID-19 virus, consumers are hesitant about how best to seek medical care.
According to the results, one out of four consumers believe that their local hospital should have done more to prepare for the pandemic. Moreover, 50 percent of the general population expressed that they felt uncomfortable visiting their local hospital. You can download the full report here.
Vennli executive Griffin Eaton stated, “COVID-19 has created a ubiquitous moment of truth for all consumers as they consider medical treatment. As a result, consumers are now re-evaluating how they make their healthcare decisions.”
Research was conducted in collaboration with Diane S. Hopkins, a national healthcare patient experience expert and author. Hopkins commented, “There are a number of new factors consumers need to consider when making the choice to receive medical care today.”
Based on observations and conversations with healthcare staff, Hopkins explains that patients should be considering the following before deciding when and where to receive healthcare:
- Think about the potential risk to your health by not seeking medical care vs. the potential risk of being exposed to COVID-19. This will depend upon your state of health, age and history. Ignoring potentially serious symptoms, especially regarding heart, lung and brain issues can be deadly. Also, you may need to prepare yourself to receive care without loved ones by your side.
- Prior to deciding on any invasive procedures or surgery, ask your healthcare provider to share their infection control policies that will protect you. They should share a written list or website outlining all precautions in place. If you feel additional precautions are needed, share your preferences with your physician's office or nursing administration.
- For outpatient appointments, see if your provider will allow you to wait in your car instead of in the lobby and if they have a system to notify you when you will be seen.
- If you've never participated in a telemedicine appointment, consider trying one to see if your needs will be met. If your provider doesn't offer telemedicine options, research local providers to find a telemedicine option that your health insurer will accept.
- Be prepared to speak up for your safety. While at the physician's office or hospital, if you see caregivers who are not wearing protective gear, ask them to get it. If you see a caregiver not washing their hands, ask them to do so. If you see other patients not honoring social distance standards, ask the office staff where else you can wait for care.
Hopkins and Eaton invite consumers to take part in the conversation on LinkedIn to share their experiences, advice, and stories.
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