Patients Have Higher Health Care Use After COVID-19 Infection

In HealthDay News
by Healthday

Alopecia, bronchitis, pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis, and dyspnea are the most common conditions tied to higher use

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 17, 2022 (HealthDay News) — Health care utilization is elevated in patients with positive severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) results six months after the acute infection, according to a study published online Aug. 12 in JAMA Network Open.

Sara Y. Tartof, Ph.D., from Kaiser Permanente Southern California in Pasadena, and colleagues estimated COVID-19-associated excess health care utilization following acute SARS-CoV-2 infection and described utilization for select post-COVID-19 conditions (PCC) among patients who had positive SARS-CoV-2 test results. The analysis included 127,859 patients with positive test results and a matched cohort with negative test results.

The researchers found that SARS-CoV-2 infection was associated with an increase in health care utilization over six months (ratios of rate ratios [RRRs], 1.04), predominantly for virtual encounters (RRR, 1.14), followed by emergency department visits (RRR, 1.08). For 18 PCCs, COVID-19-associated utilization remained elevated six months from the acute stage of infection, with the largest increase in COVID-19-associated utilization observed for infectious disease sequelae (RRR, 86.00), COVID-19 (RRR, 19.47), alopecia (RRR, 2.52), bronchitis (RRR, 1.85), pulmonary embolism or deep vein thrombosis (RRR, 1.74), and dyspnea (RRR, 1.73). COVID-19-associated excess health care utilization amounted to an additional 212.9 visits per 1,000 patients over six months.

“As health care systems evolve during a highly dynamic and ongoing global pandemic, these data provide valuable evidence to inform long-term strategic resource allocation for patients previously infected with SARS-CoV-2,” the authors write.

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