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The Joint Commission Releases Advisory on Preventative Care during Pandemic
Due to fear of exposure to COVID-19, many patients are not seeking preventative care, placing their health in jeopardy, according to a March 9 press release from The Joint Commission of Oakbook Terrace Illinois.
A new Quick Safety advisory, “Keeping Patients on Track With Preventative Care during Pandemic,” from The Joint Commission provides recommended safety actions for healthcare organizations to encourage patients to seek preventative care.
An estimated 40.9 percent of adults in the US have avoided medical care during the pandemic because of concerns about COVID-19. This includes 12 percent who have avoided urgent or emergency care and 31.5 percent who have avoided routine care, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In addition, since early 2020, breast cancer screenings have reduced by 89.2 percent and colorectal cancer screenings have reduced by 84.5 percent, according to the JCO Clinical Cancer Informatics.
A few of the recommended safety actions for healthcare organizations in the advisory include:
Reach out proactively to encourage patients to seek preventative care.
- Communications to patients could note risks of delaying preventative care.
- To address concerns about potential COVID-19 exposure while seeking healthcare, organizations could describe precautions taken to reduce this risk.
- Organizations and providers should promote and encourage the use of a home-based colon cancer screening test for low risk individuals.
Provide immunizations in dedicated clinics, rooms or buildings.
- Waiting rooms could be closed and patients could check-in via phone.
- Vaccines could be given in the parking lot.
- Patients should be reminded of the importance of protecting children against diseases that are preventable with a vaccine.
“While the past year has been extremely challenging and fluid in healthcare, it is critical that patients continue to receive the healthcare they need as the COVID-19 pandemic continues,” said Ana Pujols McKee, MD, executive vice president, chief medical officer and chief diversity and inclusion officer at The Joint Commission, in the release. “If routine care continues to be avoided, adults will miss opportunities for managing chronic conditions and detecting new conditions. Children also are at risk if they do not stay up-to-date with their age-based vaccines to help prevent infections.”
The advisory may be reproduced if credited to The Joint Commission.