OBJECTIVE: To analyze changes in primary care utilization as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Swedish national register data from 2019 to 2020 on utilization of services were used to compare overall utilization levels and across types of contacts and patient groups. A specific objective was to assess the extent to which remote types of patient consultations were able to compensate for any observed fall in on-site visits. Data were stratified by sex and age to investigate any demographic pattern.
RESULTS: Findings show significant reductions in overall utilization of services as the pandemic occurred in the first quarter of 2020. On-site visits fell during the first wave of the pandemic and rebounded thereafter. Patients over 65 years of age appear to have reduced utilization to a larger extent compared with younger groups. Simultaneously, remote contacts increased from around 12% before the pandemic to 17% of the total number of consultations. However, the net effect of changes in service utilization suggests an overall reduction of around 12 percent in the number of primary care consultations as a result of the pandemic. No differences between men and women were observed. Further research will continue to monitor changes in primary care utilization as the pandemic continues.
Bibliografisk information© 2021. The Author(s).
- Folkhälsovetenskap, global hälsa, socialmedicin och epidemiologi