It has been about seven months since the COVID-19 pandemic started in the United States. The early stages of the COVID-19 Pandemic started as a state of emergency with stay at home orders by the government. The combined stay and home orders created an environment where children and parents were not engaging with others which reduced the amount of the population exposed to COVID-19 as well as other diseases and conditions. While most pediatric offices leveraged telehealth visits since the visits were covered by insurance, the average total visit count per Pediatric office was about 52% less in April 2020 as compared to April 2019. Of the total visits in April 2020, the average Pediatric practice had about 40% of their visits conducted via telehealth. Interestingly that the visit count increased as the economy opened and children/parents started to engage in activities. Although the patterns related to engaging at schools and sports as well as other activities have not returned to pre-pandemic levels, the average practice was down about 5% of their September 2020 visit volume compared to September 2019. The percentage of visits each month that were telehealth visits peaked in April around 40% and reduced each month. In September, about 8% of the total visits for the average practice are telehealth visits (note that many practices have less than 3% of their visits as telehealth visits).
While the rate of infection for COVID-19 has increased recently, it is unknown if these visit trends to pediatric offices will continue to improve. Pediatric practices that were more proactive to identify patients and contact patients for well visits were able to better mitigate the total impact of COVID-19 on their practice. While the staff and providers need to take a proactive role, another factor that can help a Pediatric practice is to leverage a Pediatric E.H.R. that can provide a patient list for the practice staff to call in for well visits, patients due for vaccinations as well as select chronic conditions. PediatricXpress by Physician Xpress, Inc. provides these pediatric practice tools to Pediatric practices at no additional cost.