The consequences of delays in care due to COVID-19 are vast, and the emotional toll on both patients and physicians is substantial. In October of 2020, experts were discussing the likelihood of patients delaying preventive care or elective operations even after restrictions would be lifted due to the concern about exposure to COVID-19.1 This scenario can be frightening, especially in gynecology, as delayed care can lead to advanced disease that requires more invasive intervention.2 Specifically, a case study conducted on a New York City hospital, found that GYN surgical volumes had decreased during the pandemic, in addition to OBGYN related emergency department (ER) consults. The importance and medical necessity of elective GYN surgeries remains clear in the prevention of serious medical conditions such as anemia,3 however there is concern that patient willingness and comfortability to seek care, or inpatient procedures, is low due to the impact of COVID-19. According to an article published by Becker’s Hospital Review, the top two key trends which will aid hospital and healthcare facilities navigating the challenges associated with COVID-19 are patient expectation and outpatient migration. In terms of patient expectation, the focus on the patient-centric environment and care has never been more important. In addition, the pandemic has accelerated outpatient surgical migration from hospitals towards ambulatory surgical centers, as patients hope to avoid the hospital setting. The volume of outpatient procedures is key to understanding patient comfort and hesitancy to undergo inpatient procedures, while also underlining the necessity for provider flexibility when it comes to settings of care.4
During the last week of March 2020, there was a 154% increase in telehealth visits, compared with the previous period in 2019. This extreme surge in telemedicine is most likely attributed to pandemic-related telehealth policy changes and public health guidance. Although telehealth visits were seen to have many benefits, such as expanded access to care and reduction in COVID-19 spread, they are limited when it comes to gynecologic in-person physical examination or procedures, which are deferred to a later date or performed on an as-needed basis.5,6
Given the current healthcare landscape, there is also increased importance in offering patients a comfortable in-office choice for gynecologic surgery, whenever available. At Hologic, we are committed to providing solutions which allow physicians to provide the same high quality of care in any site of service. The comprehensive Omni® Suite for hysteroscopy is one example of this and ensures a convenient in-office procedure experience for both patient and provider. Omni Suite complements the wider gynecological surgical solutions portfolio and can enhance utilization of other devices like MyoSure that promote clinical confidence and outcomes, while addressing the challenges of in-office hysteroscopy. At Hologic, we are not only committed to women’s health, but also to serving as a reliable partner to physicians navigating this new normal in a way that ensures patients are getting safe and effective preventative and therapeutic care, all in a secure setting.
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1Meredith JW, High KP, Freischlag JA. Preserving Elective Surgeries in the COVID-19 Pandemic and the Future. JAMA. 2020;324(17):1725– 1726. doi:10.1001/jama.2020.19594
2Kaufman HW, Chen Z, Niles J, Fesko Y. Changes in the Number of US Patients With Newly Identified Cancer Before and During the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) Pandemic. JAMA Netw Open. 2020;3(8):e2017267. doi:10.1001/ jamanetworkopen.2020.17267
3Spurlin EE, Han ES, Silver ER. Where Have All the Emergencies Gone? The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Obstetric and Gynecologic Procedures and Consults at a New York City Hospital. JMIG. 2020. doi.10.1016/j/jmig.2020.11.012
4Condon A. The Road to Recovery: 5 Surgical Trends Facing Hospitals in 2021. Becker’s Hospital Review. 26 Jan. 2021. www.beckershospitalreview.com/strategy/ the-road-to-recovery-5-surgical-trends-facing-hospitals-in-2021.html.
5Koonin LM, Hoots B, Tsang CA, et al. Trends in the Use of Telehealth During the Emergence of the COVID-19 Pandemic — United States, January–March 2020. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2020;69:1595–1599. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6943a3.
6American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. COVID-19 FAQs for obstetriciansgynecologists, telehealth. Washington, DC: ACOG; 2020. Available at: https://www.acog.org/clinical-information/physician-faqs/covid-19-faqs-forob-gyns-telehealth. Retrieved [February 2, 2021].