CHICAGO, Oct. 29, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- A narrow majority of physician practices in the United States expect patient volume to return to pre-COVID levels by Jan. 1, 2021, according to a new Evolve Healthcare Marketing and Redwood Advisors survey. Fifty-one percent of outpatient physicians, practice administrators, hospital executives and other key healthcare decisionmakers made such a forecast when completing the inaugural survey late last summer. This total includes one-third of the survey's participants whose volume had already returned to pre-pandemic levels before Labor Day.
"In the early days of the pandemic, many outpatient providers rolled out telehealth options and reduced staffing levels overnight," said Peter S. Cunningham, president and CEO of Evolve Healthcare Marketing. "More than six months after the first shelter-in-place orders, however, patient volume appears to be returning in many areas of the country, and physician practices are discovering that many of these stop-gap measures could benefit them long term."
The Evolve Healthcare Marketing and Redwood Advisors survey was conducted in August 2020. The firms' researchers contacted about 6,000 physicians, practice leaders and outside investors, and 84 individuals completed the online survey. Additional key findings in the report, titled "The State of the Healthcare Industry," include:
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More than 60 percent of the survey's respondents said telehealth would improve healthcare long term.
Almost half of the physicians surveyed reported no change in job satisfaction during the pandemic; however, the majority of the remaining physicians surveyed described their job satisfaction as "worse."
More than 60 percent of the physicians surveyed said the pandemic has not made them want to sell their practices.
Despite this apparent resolve, more than one-third of all survey respondents still said they expect the pandemic to accelerate physician retirements.
"We have seen how outpatient providers fared during the sharp declines in demand due to the pandemic," said John Nantz, CEO and founder of Redwood Advisors. "Practices that scaled their business before COVID weathered the storm more effectively than did smaller, independent practices. For both large and small practices, understanding how to grow in order to capitalize on these benefits to scale will be an important priority moving forward."
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