Apollo study evaluates patient data of 2 yrs to assess impact on non-Covid services

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New Delhi, Jun 9 (PTI) Seeking to get a broader understanding of the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare delivery system, a leading private facility in Delhi has conducted an observational study based on data related to patients spanning two years, hospital authorities said on Friday.

The study included a thorough observation on the impact of the pandemic on various medical and surgical specialties, since the onset of the pandemic, and compared it with the preceding pre-pandemic period (June 1, 2019-March 31, 2020).

The first case of COVID-19 in Delhi was reported on March 1, 2020 and over 14.34 lakh cases have been recorded till date, as per official figures.

The study is titled 'Severe impact of COVID-19 pandemic on non-COVID patient care and health delivery: An observational study from a large multispecialty hospital of India'. It was done by Apollo hospital here, and was published in the Indian Journal of Medical Sciences in July.

The pandemic period considered for the study was April 2020 to March 21, hence the data on cases during the second wave (April-June) of the COVID-19 is not included in it, a spokesperson of the hospital said.

'The study evaluated the data of 6,77,237 cases (599,281 outpatient and 77,956 hospital admissions) in the past two years (pandemic and pre-pandemic),' said P Shivakumar, Managing Director, Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals here.

It found that there was a 'significant effect' of the COVID-19 pandemic on most spheres of clinical practice, including the outpatient attendance and elective surgeries, officials said.

'Attendance of both new and follow-up cases dropped by 57.65 per cent. The outpatient cases attendance saw a significant reduction of 89.2 per cent, followed by a reduction of 80.75 per cent in surgical work,' Shivakumar said.

Going forward, healthcare providers need to factor in the impact of fear which resulted in patients ignoring their healthcare needs which can be detrimental, he added.

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted healthcare delivery across the globe. The entire healthcare delivery facilities had to undergo a transformation to combat the spread of this highly infectious viral disease, doctors said.

The mandatory travel restrictions and increasing COVID-19 cases have had a significant impact on the healthcare delivery system, they said.

The only medical specialty that saw more patients was respiratory medicine with a significant increase of 314.04 per cent in admissions, because of COVID-19 factor, said Dr Anupam Sibal, Group Medical Director, Apollo Hospitals Group.

'The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on both the hospital's major medical and surgical specialties. The surgical work was reduced significantly across all the specialties, with bariatric surgery (87.5 per cent) and ophthalmology (65.45 per cent), being affected the most and general surgery (32.28 per cent), and neurosurgery the least,' he said.

It was observed that all the medical and surgical specialties dealing more with critical and emergency care were less affected than the others. The most urgent surgical and interventional work was undertaken with due precautions, such as liver (56.46 per cent) and kidney (54.89 per cent) transplants, urgent neurosurgery (65.62 per cent), cardiac surgery (44.56 per cent), and surgical oncology (53.6 per cent),' Sibal said, sharing data from the study.

Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, Sir Ganga Ram Hospital, Fortis hospital, Max hospital, were among the leading private facilities which saw a huge rush of Covid patients, confirmed and suspected, during the pandemic period in 2020 in the national capital.

Senior consultant, orthopaedics at Apollo hospital, and co-author of the study, Dr Raju Vaishya, said, 'In the pandemic period spanning, April 2020–March 2021, the number of admissions for COVID-19 was 3,746. The number of admissions for COVID-19 cases accounted for 12.09 per cent of the total number of admissions (30,975) in that year. The backlog of patients who didn't seek care will now be addressed and patients should no longer delay availing care'.

Doctors at leading government and private hospitals had earlier said that as the majority of the machinery is engaged in fighting the deadly Covid on a war-footing and movement restrictions were in place, non-Covid patients who needed surgeries or have issues and have to be examined physically and pregnant women were especially at a loss. PTI KND AAR AAR

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