A national survey release Wednesday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that 54% of obstetricians and gynecologists in the U.S. reported a substantial decline in patients' visits since March because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Even though telehealth visits rose during the same time period, the physicians surveyed said they were concerned that their patients were not getting adequate reproductive and gynecological care.
According to CNN, the survey said ''at least six in 10 OB-GYNS reported being very or somewhat worried about delays in contraceptive care, prenatal care, follow up care for abnormal Pap smears, STI treatment, and obtaining an abortion.''
Before March 2020, 86% of OB-GYNS said they did not do telehealth visits, but by June, a whopping 84% said they now included these visits in their practices. Dr. Maria Sophocles, a New Jersey-based specialist in menopause and sexual dysfunction, told CNN that remote patient visits in her field pose a challenge.
''Telemedicine has been a wonderful way to safely and conveniently conduct consultations but as a gynecologist there are certain conditions which require an exam,'' she said. Conditions such as breast masses or abnormal bleeding must be dealt with in person, she said.
The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists urges women to stay up to date with screenings, tests, and vaccines. It also offers special guidelines for pregnant women and those who are breast-feeding.
Medical tests in general have plummeted since the coronavirus outbreak, according to a recent report. Komodo Health, which has a large medical claims database, says that cervical cancer screenings fell by 68%, cholesterol panels were down 67%, and blood sugar tests to detect and manage diabetes fell 65% in the U.S.
Millions of Americans have postponed critical tests as residents obey stay-at-home orders, according to Fox News.
''We’re seeing a tremendous impact on preventative care,'' said Komodo Health Chief Executive Dr. Arif Nathoo. ''It speaks volumes as to how much COVID is impacting everyone’s health and wellness.''
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