Nearly a year after the first known coronavirus cases appeared in the United States, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Dec. 11, 2020, approved the nation’s first attempt to beat back a pandemic that’s caused more than 500,000 deaths to date: Pfizer-BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine.
A week later, regulators approved Moderna’s similar two-shot mRNA vaccine, followed by Johnson & Johnson’s single-dose vaccine in late February 2021. In response to the FDA’s quick succession of emergency authorizations, many U.S. adults moved quickly to receive their jabs, flocking to mass vaccination sites, local pharmacies and traditional providers. And it didn’t take long for the numbers to start rolling in: By April 1, more than one-quarter of the total U.S. population had received at least partial protection from one of three COVID-19 vaccines, according to a Mayo Clinic study.
In response to these impressive vaccination numbers, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention made a breakthrough announcement on May 13, 2021: Under federal guidelines, fully vaccinated people were no longer required to wear masks or practice social distancing inside or in public.
It was amidst this historic inflection point in Spring 2021 that our researchers went into the field again to measure how the pandemic was affecting key healthcare decisionmakers. Here’s what they found:
- More than 70 percent of medical practices expect their patient volume in 2021 to be higher than 2020.
- Nearly 20 percent of practices are uncertain when their patient volume will return to pre-COVID levels.
While patient volume is up, COVID-19 has had a profound effect on medical staff morale: More than 40 percent of the survey’s respondents said physician job satisfaction is worse than before the pandemic.
Other key findings include:
- More than 40 percent of practice decisionmakers said the pandemic has made them more reliant on telemedicine; most interviewees said this a positive long-term trend.
- Less than 10 percent of survey participants said COVID-19 makes it more likely that they’ll sell their practice.
Download the full survey report here.