65% of endoscopy practices performed less than 10% of endoscopy volume during COVID-19, survey says

Although approved to restart elective procedures, gastroenterologists face heightened COVID-19 risk because of the risk of intraprocedural exposure.

Researchers for a preprint article in Gastroenterology surveyed 73 individuals representing 62 U.S.-based centers and 11 Canadian centers between March 21 and April 17, on how COVID-19 changed their practice.

What they found:

1. Sixty-five percent of centers said they operated at less than or equal to 10 percent of normal endoscopy volume during the response period. Twenty-five percent of centers said they operated at 25 percent of normal endoscopy volume.

2. Ninety-seven percent of centers postponed screening colonoscopy. Sixty-eight percent of centers said they had no plan on how they'd address the procedural backlog once COVID-19 restrictions were lifted.

3. Ninety-six percent of clinics pivoted to telemedicine, with 47 percent of centers saying they conducted more than 75 percent of their visits via telemedicine.

4. Eighty-six percent of centers said they screened patients for COVID-19 when they arrived at endoscopy units; however, only 28 percent of centers contacted patients up to 14 days post-procedure to track COVID-19 development.

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