The rippling effects of delaying routine colonoscopies

When COVID-19 hit, the rate of patients receiving colonoscopies plummeted. Patients feared they may contract the virus by appearing for in-person appointments. Providers reported drop-off rates as high as 95% during the first few months. While procedures have since resumed with extensive safety protocols in place, the hesitation and concerns persist.

An estimated 41% of adults have delayed or avoided returning to their healthcare provider for routine care, leading to a massive loss of revenue. On top of that, 59% of patients who do want to receive care, had to be scheduled in around the already existing appointments. The backlog effect of the pandemic has created a health, financial, and administrative problem.

Delaying routine care can cost money and potentially lives

The clinical benefit of receiving a colonoscopy is undeniable. Researchers report that as many as 60% of colorectal cancer deaths could be prevented if those over age 50 were screened on a routine-basis. Since the pandemic upended routine cancer screenings, healthcare professionals quickly expressed concerns about potential missed diagnoses and cancers that would be too late to cure by the time screenings were permitted. Those concerns are now proving prophetic.

The primary concern around missed colonoscopy appointments is the health risk for patients, but the backlog is financially damaging to gastroenterologists too. With fewer procedures performed, the revenue streams are shrinking. Which means each missed appointment can lead to $715,000 in missed revenue for one practice. Take into consideration how many appointments were missed during 2020. Even into 2021, the dollar amount for missed revenue skyrockets.

Reviving the path toward normal

Now that preventative care procedures have tentatively resumed, the administrative burden has become an incredible hurdle for the healthcare industry. Along with clinicians, administrators are also feeling the effects of burnout. The industry is experiencing resignation rates at unprecedented highs.

Staff shortages are making the scheduling process more difficult for both providers and patients. When a patient is looking to book a colonoscopy appointment and they run into a roadblock, it’s likely they’ll delay further or skip it all together, leading to negative impacts on their health and their provider’s bottom line.

Now is the time to step back and let technology streamline your scheduling process. One of the many capabilities of Orbita’s Digital Front Door Solution allows patients to schedule their own appointment at their convenience in sync with a practice’s system. Read our white paper to learn more about the current state of colonoscopies and how Orbita’s technology can transform your practice.

Download the White Paper