FRIDAY, July 21, 2023 (HealthDay News) — People whose access to health care was disrupted during the COVID-19 pandemic have an increased risk for an avoidable hospital admission, according to a study published online July 19 in The BMJ.
Mark A. Green, Ph.D., from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom, and colleagues conducted an observational analysis using evidence from seven linked longitudinal cohort studies for England. Individual-level records for 29,276 people were reviewed to examine whether there is an association between disrupted access to health care during the COVID-19 pandemic and risk for an avoidable hospital admission.
Overall, 9,742 participants self-reported some form of disrupted access to health care during the pandemic. The researchers found that those with disrupted access had an increased risk for any, acute, and chronic ambulatory care sensitive hospital admissions (odds ratios, 1.80, 2.01, and 1.80, respectively). Positive associations were found for people who experienced disrupted access to appointments and procedures with avoidable hospital admissions measures.
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“The external shock to the health system caused by the COVID-19 pandemic seriously disrupted access to health care and this impact is having negative impacts on hospital admissions that could potentially be preventable,” the authors wrote. “Our study highlights the need for increasing health care investment to tackle the short and long term implications of the pandemic.”