COVID-19

Survey: Patient Volume At Most U.S. Physician Practices Expected To Return To Pre-COVID Levels By Jan. 1

Pandemic-driven telehealth adoption, operational efficiencies may improve the long-term financial outlook of many practices
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A narrow majority of physician practices in the United States expect patient volume to return to pre-COVID levels by Jan. 1, 2021, according to a new Evolve Healthcare Marketing and Redwood Advisors survey. Fifty-one percent of outpatient physicians, practice administrators, hospital executives and other key healthcare decisionmakers made such a forecast when completing the inaugural survey late last summer. This total includes one-third of the survey’s participants whose volume had already returned to pre-pandemic levels before Labor Day.  

“In the early days of the pandemic, many outpatient providers rolled out telehealth options and reduced staffing levels overnight,” said Peter S. Cunningham, president and CEO of Evolve Healthcare Marketing. “More than six months after the first shelter-in-place orders, however, patient volume appears to be returning in many areas of the country, and physician practices are discovering that many of these stop-gap measures could benefit them long term.”

The Evolve Healthcare Marketing and Redwood Advisors survey was conducted in August 2020. The firms’ researchers contacted about 6,000 physicians, practice leaders and outside investors, and 84 individuals completed the online survey. Additional key findings in the report, titled “The State of the Healthcare Industry,” include:

  • More than 60 percent of the survey’s respondents said telehealth would improve healthcare long term.
  • Almost half of the physicians surveyed reported no change in job satisfaction during the pandemic; however, the majority of the remaining physicians surveyed described their job satisfaction as “worse.”
  • More than 60 percent of the physicians surveyed said the pandemic has not made them want to sell their practices.
  • Despite this apparent resolve, more than one-third of all survey respondents still said they expect the pandemic to accelerate physician retirements.

“We have seen how outpatient providers fared during the sharp declines in demand due to the pandemic,” said John Nantz, CEO and founder of Redwood Advisors. “Practices that scaled their business before COVID weathered the storm more effectively than did smaller, independent practices. For both large and small practices, understanding how to grow in order to capitalize on these benefits to scale will be an important priority moving forward.”

About Evolve Healthcare Marketing:

Based in Chicago, Evolve is a data-driven healthcare marketing agency. We were founded on the belief that traditional marketing tactics are becoming increasingly obsolete, resulting in year-over-year diminishing return on investment. As such, we explore, test and leverage what’s working beyond the confines of healthcare — the latest advertising platforms, content, conversion tactics and real-time reporting — and apply our industry specialization to help our clients thrive in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

About Redwood Advisors:

Redwood Advisors helps multi-site outpatient healthcare organizations maximize value and positive patient outcomes with best-in-class strategic support. We help clients with commercial due diligence, long-term growth strategy plans, M&A and de novo strategy, and practice integration and have worked with a number of successful providers including National Veterinary Associates, Unified Women’s Care, U.S. Oral Surgery Management and BioScrip among others.

Updated November 10, 2020 at 10:04am CT

Kevin Howard

Kevin Howard is an associate consultant at Redwood Advisors. Kevin has delivered several projects for a range of clients focused in strategy and organizational excellence. He graduated with Highest Honors from the University of Michigan, Ross School of Business, with a BBA in strategy and supplemental studies in public policy. Previously, he worked in the Market Analysis Strategy Group at The Boeing Company in Seattle.

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