Change driven by the pandemic has demonstrated that complex patient care can transition to ambulatory settings with the help of today’s advanced technology that serves patient needs outside of hospitals. This trend is also noted in the Sg2 report 2021 Impact of Change Forecast Highlights, which says outpatient adult services have returned to pre-pandemic levels in 2021 and projects a sustained increase in volume throughout 2022.
The Pharmacy Market Outlook found that individual service lines across non-acute care had the highest rebound volumes in 2020 compared to 2019 volumes:
- 97% for general medicine
- 86% for gastroenterology
- 86% for pulmonology
- 85% for neurosciences
The service line with the least percent recovery was oncology, according to the Outlook. Yet home-based chemotherapy saw a 120% increase in 2020.
“During the pandemic, chemotherapy infusion centers quickly triaged the administration of oncology medications and oncology patient care to sites that historically did not see a high percentage of cancer care volumes, such as home infusion,” it stated. “Home-based chemotherapy and cancer care experienced a large increase in number throughout 2020, while conversely hydration and non-cancer infusion therapy visits declined.”
In addition, the report found that patients experiencing long-term side effects from COVID-19 may continue to need specialty services in ambulatory settings to meet their unique needs. This could drive a residual volume increase for ambulatory care.
“As the impact of the pandemic has continued to subside, we know the need to implement transformational change across traditional and novel sites of care has increased in its urgency,” according to the Outlook.