Since Mid-March, many parents were home watching the news that runs constantly and seeing images of NYC Hospitals as well as the daily updates from the White House team on the pandemic. The environment of children and adults being at home reduces contact for COVID-19 as well as other diseases/conditions that result in patients going to the Pediatric office. Reduced incidence of injuries and common viruses since children are not in school, at sporting events and interacting in other activities also reduce total visit volume. The environment of the Pandemic (being at home) decreased the sick visit numbers dramatically. Additionally, many parents delayed well visits for school-aged children due to fear of going to a medical office and being exposed.
Since there was no previous national pandemic, there was limited to no experience on how to operate during the pandemic. National and local thought leaders seem to agree that the ‘standard’ of care for pediatric practices is to bring in well visits under 5 years (need for vaccination), triage and manage sick visits either in office and/or TeleHealth. Practices that staffed the front desk team during business hours, managed a consistent policy and communication on treatment options for families seemed to have the least negative impact on total visit declines during the pandemic time frame (40-55% reduction in total visit volume).