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Financial Concerns Causing Patients to Defer Care

As posted on HITMC

It’s no secret that patient volumes in 2022 were below expectations. NRC Health, recently found that 27% of patients actively deferred their care in 2022. Why are so many patients putting off their care? In 2022, financial concerns rather than fear of COVID-19 were one of the primary reasons for patients not visiting healthcare facilities. Patients may continue to defer their care until healthcare organizations address this.

Healthcare IT Today sat down with Ryan Donohue, Strategic Advisor at NRC Health, to dig deeper into the company’s findings and to discuss how healthcare organizations can motivate patients to return.

Tracking Patients Who Defer Care

For more than 40 years, NRC Health has been gathering data on consumer and patient preferences. They analyze that data to provide insights to healthcare organizations on how they can improve the overall patient experience as well as outcomes.

In 2008, at the height of the Great Recession, NRC Health began tracking consumers who needed care but chose not to seek it. That year, they found that 25% of US consumers were deferring their care. The most recent report from NRC Health shows that number to 27% in 2022.

This is down from highs during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic (2020 and 2021), but it is still more than what was expected at the start of 2022. Back then, many healthcare organizations were planning for a bounce back in patient volumes.

“Utilization bounced back in 2022, but not nearly as strong as providers have wanted,” explained Donohue.

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