Despite 'unprecedented' rise in COVID-19 cases to end 2020, outpatient volumes remained stable

The U.S. saw an "unprecedented rise" in COVID-19 cases to end 2020, but outpatient practice volumes remained stable, according to a Feb. 22 report from The Commonwealth Fund.

Despite the stability in the face of shutdowns, outpatient practices did rely on telemedicine, and pediatric outpatient practices saw volume declines.

Here are four other insights:

1. Although volumes remained stable, winter months typically coincide with an increase in outpatient visits. In 2020, volumes were 5 to 6 percent down from historical volumes.

2. Telemedicine made a resurgence in November and December, increasing from 6 percent of all visits to 8 percent.

3. Volume declined the most for pediatrics (24 percent), physical medicine (11 percent), pulmonology (11 percent) and ENT (11 percent), and volumes increased the most for rheumatology (8 percent), urology (6 percent) and adult primary care (5 percent).

4. Across the entire pandemic, visits declined across all specialties.

View the entire report here.

Note: The Commonwealth Fund is liberal-leaning.

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