BOSTON, May 13, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- Urban hospitals bounced back much quicker in the second half of 2020 from surgical caseload drops than rural hospitals, according to a new report out today from Caresyntax, the leading enterprise-level digital surgery platform delivering actionable insights to make surgery smarter and safer. In April 2020, rural and urban hospitals both saw staggering declines in surgical volume – 126 percent and 123 percent compared to 2019, respectively. By October 2020, however, rural hospitals were seeing a 19 percent decline, while urban hospitals were experiencing only a 14 percent drop.
This first-of-its-kind report highlighted the effects of COVID-19 on surgical trends throughout 2020, adding new context to the impact of the pandemic on the surgical industry. The report looks at trends and shifts seen in surgeries throughout 2020, and breaks down according to schedule types, specialties, case mix index (CMI), for-profit versus not-for-profit hospitals, and settings.
"Hospitals were devastated on all levels by the coronavirus, but since the operating room is the financial heart of hospitals, the widespread and rapid drop in surgical caseloads last year is the top concern for health systems from a business standpoint," said Dennis Kogan, Caresyntax CEO. "By examining the trends and shifts in surgical volume in 2020, and learning from what worked and what did not, hospital leaders and policymakers can prepare to be more resilient going forward."
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Key insights from the report include:
In April 2020, elective surgeries saw a 193 percent decline in case volume compared to 2019.
Throughout the year, general surgeries saw 14 percent drop in case volume compared to the previous year. Cardiovascular surgeries took the smallest hit in April with only a 65 percent decline compared to 2019, but struggled more than other types to rebound throughout the year.
Hospitals with the capacity to perform high complexity surgeries (with a higher CMI) had a less severe drop in surgical volume than those with a low CMI.
In December 2019, 26 percent of appendectomies performed were considered elective, and the rest categorized as urgent, but by December 2020 elective cases had declined to 20 percent. This could be due to patients and providers delaying care until absolutely necessary.
Throughout the entire year, for-profit hospitals routinely outperformed not-for-profit hospitals in surgical volume. In May, for-profit hospitals saw double the case volume growth compared to not-for-profit hospitals – 44 percent versus 22 percent.