Blog | Coronavirus

McKinsey & Company survey: Physician perceptions of COVID-19 risk influence referral patterns

Blog | Coronavirus

McKinsey & Company survey: Physician perceptions of COVID-19 risk influence referral patterns

  • More than 40% of physicians reported that post-COVID-19 they will be more likely to refer patients to non-hospital facilities for procedures, office visits and diagnostic testing than they were pre-COVID-19, according to results of a recent McKinsey & Company survey.
  • The effect of referrals to non-hospital facilities was more pronounced for independent physicians than those who are employed, according to the survey.
  • A possible rationale for this is that physicians may be wary of the safety of hospital-based care in the return from COVID-19, although the survey did not include questions to that effect, according to the survey report.

A recent McKinsey & Company survey finds that, “More than 40 percent of physicians reported that post-COVID-19, they will be more likely to refer patients to non-hospital facilities for procedures, office visits, and diagnostic testing than they were pre-COVID-19 (Exhibit 4 [see the exhibit in the above McKinsey & Company link]), with a more pronounced effect on independent physicians than those who are employed. A possible rationale is that physicians may be wary of the safety of hospital-based care in the return from COVID-19, although the survey did not include questions to that effect."

Takeaway

It’s not surprising that physicians are concerned about the possibility of their patients (or the physicians themselves) contracting COVID-19 in a healthcare setting. We’ve heard many CFOs discuss the comprehensive checklists they used to safely reopen clinics and restart non-emergent procedures. The McKinsey findings illustrate the importance of both involving physicians in the development/execution of these checklists and communicating the use of these checklists and how they were developed to the medical staff (in addition to the general public). This also was a key theme in my conversation with three health system leaders during the HFMA Digital Annual Conference session “Navigating Through a Pandemic.”

Further, high-margin service lines that saw significant decreases in volume should receive additional focus. Orthopedics is one example. Hips, knee and spine procedures, three of the highest contribution margin hospital services, saw declines of between 79% and 99%. Given the importance of this service line, hospitals may want to adopt the American Association of Hip and Knee Surgeon’s recommendations to minimize the risk of COVID-19 spread as non-emergent orthopedic procedures are performed. The recommendations cover perioperative screening and administrative procedures, surgical team PPE usage, OR-suite environmental maintenance and clinical issues such as anesthesia use and wound closure devices. 

About the Author

Chad Mulvany, FHFMA,

is director, healthcare finance policy, strategy and development, HFMA’s Washington, D.C., office.

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