Stress And Anxiety Plague High-Need Patients Amid COVID-19, With 40% Afraid To Leave Home, And 46% Reporting Stress Exacerbating Their Conditions, According To InCrowd Report

Estimates on the timing of return to normal jump from five months to ten in second wave of research

WATERTOWN, MA May 19, 2020—As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic drags on, US chronic and immunocompromised patients report they have developed depression, stress, and anxiety due to COVID-19—although they show signs of adapting quickly to new-found ways of accessing and managing care. These findings appear in a new wave of research conducted by InCrowd, the pioneer for real-time, high-quality primary market intelligence for the life science industry, and sourced in partnership with Rare Patient Voice.

I think the primary impact for me has been increased stress causing autoimmune disease flares that are resulting in malnutrition symptoms again.” —Autoimmune Disease Patient, age 48, MD

I needed to go to the ER and didn’t because of exposure concerns. My disease causes breathing issues and I knew I’d be suspected and screened for COVID with the other patients even though I’ve been fully isolated.” —Autoimmune Disease Patient, age 40, AZ

“I love the telehealth options for things that don’t require in person appointments like my medication management. Unless testing is needed, I feel it’s a better fit for me.” —Autoimmune Disease Patient, age 30, MN

Issues related to mental health are the two top difficulties affecting disease management for respondents, with 46% indicating that stress is exacerbating their condition, and 42% reporting that they have developed depression or anxiety as a result of the crisis. Forty percent said they are scared to leave their homes to access care, with patients now predicting 10 months until a return to normalcy, up from five envisioned in March.

In May, a third of respondents (32%) reported that COVID-19 has impacted their ability to access treatments and two-thirds are reporting that COVID-19 has impacted their ability to manage their medical condition(s) in some way.  

Yet despite treatment challenges, patients are reporting a slight improvement in overall concern for their health during this time than usual, 65% of respondents down from 70% in March, and concern for the safety of a loved one, 38% from 52% in March.

Patients’ reported use of telehealth in May (69%) also is significantly higher than what patients projected their use would be in March (56%). Patients have also been cancelling appointments less frequently (44% in May) than anticipated (54% in March), potentially due to the uptick in telehealth as a substitute for routine in-person visits.

“A couple of clear themes emerged from our second wave of high-need patient research,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of InCrowd. “Patients are feeling more stressed, attempting to manage their treatment regime while working to secure more medication inventory—20% report stockpiling their supplies. And they seem to be willing to embrace new solutions and practices to manage their conditions. The acceptance of telehealth was a strong theme in these findings, though back in March patients were more skeptical about it. We’ve also seen a similarly high adoption of telehealth in our physician research. The data suggests we’re observing a trend that will transcend the pandemic and most definitely become part of care delivery as we know it.” Partnering with Rare Patient Voice for both waves of data, InCrowd surveyed 159 patients for Wave 2 (83 with mild to moderate conditions and 76 with moderate to severe conditions) to share their experiences and perspectives on the COVID-19 pandemic. The >10-minute MicroSurvey fielded May 7-8, 2020. For Wave 1, InCrowd asked 152 patients (77 with mild to moderate conditions and 75 with moderate to severe conditions). The 9-minute MicroSurvey fielded March 25-26, 2020. InCrowd will continue to monitor these important issues for patients.