HumanInsight Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care disruptions, outcomes, and costs in patients receiving pulmonary arterial hypertension-specific therapy in the United States of America: An observational study
Pulm Circ. 2023 Sep 10;13(3):e12283. doi: 10.1002/pul2.12283. eCollection 2023 Jul.
Regular expert follow-up, risk assessment, and early therapeutic intervention minimize worsening of pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). COVID-19 lockdown measures were challenging for chronic disease management. This retrospective, longitudinal analysis used US claims data (January 12, 2016 to September 11, 2021) for patients treated with PAH-specific medication to compare in-person outpatient and specialist visits, telemedicine visits, and PAH-related tests during 6-month assessment periods pre- and immediately post-COVID-19. Hospitalizations, costs, and outcomes were compared in patients with and without care disruptions (no in-person or telemedicine outpatient visits in immediate post-COVID-19 period). Patients in the immediate post-COVID-19 (N = 599) versus the pre-COVID-19 period (N = 598) had fewer in-person outpatient visits (mean 1.27 vs. 2.12) and in-person specialist visits (pulmonologist, 22.9% vs. 37.0% of patients; cardiologist, 27.5% vs. 33.8%); and more telemedicine visits (mean 0.45 vs. 0.02). In the immediate post-COVID-19 period, patients were less likely to have a PAH-related test versus the pre-COVID-19 period (incidence rate ratio: 0.700; 95% confidence interval: 0.615-0.797), including electrocardiograms (41.7% vs. 54.2%) and 6-minute walk distance tests (16.2% vs. 24.9%). In the immediate post-COVID-19 period, 48 patients had care disruptions and, in the following year, required more hospital days than those without care disruptions (N = 240) (median 10 vs. 5 days in total) and had higher overall hospitalization costs (median US$34,755 vs. US$20,090). Our findings support the need for minimizing care disruptions to potentially avoid incremental post-disruption healthcare utilization and costs among patients with serious chronic diseases such as PAH.
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