HealthDay News — According to a national survey conducted by Harvard Medical School, the RAND Corporation, and Doximity, practicing physicians currently report substantial concerns about supplies, the government response, and availability of testing amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Anupam Bapu Jena, M.D., from Harvard Medical School, and Chris Whaley, Ph.D., from the Berkeley School of Public Health at the University of California and the RAND Corporation, surveyed 2,615 physicians registered through Doximity between March 21 and 24, 2020. Respondents represented all major specialties and U.S. states.
According to the results of the survey, nearly three-quarters of respondents (73.3 percent) cannot quickly and easily test for COVID-19. While nearly half of respondents reported that they had not treated a patient with COVID-19 symptoms (49.8 percent), one in 10 said they had treated ≥10 patients with symptoms but were unable to get testing for them. More than three-quarters of respondents (77.5 percent) do not believe their hospital or clinic has adequate medical supplies and equipment, while nearly seven in 10 doctors (69.9 percent) do not believe the government has taken appropriate measures to support the medical supply chain. One in six respondents believe the public health response (e.g., social distancing, closing schools, and discouraging travel) are an appropriate response to the pandemic. More than half of doctors (52.7 percent) say their clinical practice has started virtual office visits as a result of COVID-19, with an additional 28.1 percent saying they are moving toward implementing telemedicine.
“As an emergency medicine physician, I see first-hand how these challenges are impacting day-to-day operations in the emergency room. I practice in Chicago, and we’ve already begun to see patients in severe distress due to this pandemic,” Amit Phull, M.D., vice president of strategy and insights at Doximity, said in a statement. “The bottom line is that the issues flagged in this study, both at the clinical and system level, need to be addressed quickly for us to get and stay ahead of this.”