IRVING, Texas--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Vizient, Inc. and its subsidiary company Sg2 today released its 2021 Impact of Change® Forecast that projects a rapid recovery of volumes for most services as COVID-19 abates, followed by a seismic shift in health care delivery as services move from hospitals to other care facilities. The report can be accessed here: https://newsroom.vizientinc.com/content/1221/files/Documents/2021_PR_ImpactOfChange.pdf
“We’re going to see a strong recovery over the next six months in terms of health care utilization, with overall outpatient demand surpassing 2019 volumes. However, not everything will return to pre-pandemic levels. There will be some permanent changes post-pandemic, including sustained shift to virtual, and emergency department (ED) volumes remaining below 2019 levels. In addition, rising acuity and chronic disease burden, trends which were occurring prior to the pandemic, will place increasing demands on the health care workforce and across the system of care,” said Madeleine McDowell, MD, FAAP, principal and medical director for Sg2.
The forecast projects that inpatient volumes will recover to their pre-COVID-19 levels by 2022 and then plateau. By 2029, hospital emergency departments (ED) will see 4.8 million fewer patient visits annually than in 2019 (roughly a 5% decline) as low acuity ED visits shift to urgent care clinics, physician offices and other locations. At the same time, Americans will spend 12.5 million more days in the hospital (9% increase) driven by a rise in chronic diseases, an older population that requires more care and new innovations increasing the number of treatable conditions. Other insights from the forecast include:
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Changing Venues for Care
Hospital outpatient departments (HOPD) and ambulatory surgery centers (ASCs) will continue to experience patient growth (19% and 25% by 2029, respectively), with patient volumes projected to increase by 15 million from 2019 to 2029. The shift in procedures from inpatient to outpatient and from HOPD to ASC will help drive down the cost of surgical procedures.
Outpatient surgery shift will accelerate as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) eliminates all procedures on the inpatient-only list (more than 1,700 codes) and expands the number of ASC-covered procedures by 278 by the end of 2023.
Physician clinics will see pronounced declines in in-person visits (-19%) as patients shift to virtual, but those patients seen in the office will be more likely to need ancillary services. Non-visit services in physician clinics, such as office-based diagnostics, laboratory testing and imaging, are projected to grow 18% by 2029.