Real world studies of COVID-19’s impact on health care utilization are arriving daily and their continued publication throughout the next year will be the defining characteristic of HEOR in 2021. One systematic review (in preprint) has already reported on 81 such studies. In these studies, which covered multiple countries and health care settings, there was a median reduction of 37% in services overall.
In November, about one in four people reported skipping needed medical care for something unrelated to the coronavirus. Yet a December assessment by the Kaiser Family Foundation reported a mere 2% annual drop in health service use. Reconciling these statistics will take careful analysis that, because of data lag, probably can’t begin until late next year.