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Frontline COVID-19 Treating US Physicians Estimate Return to Normal in February 2022, as Physicians’ Mental-Health Impact Rises, According to InCrowd’s Wave 7 Tracking Report

February 23, 2021

During the 30 days leading up to fielding, nearly half (48%) report they are burnout from COVID; 75% are frustrated by those who don’t acknowledge COVID-19

WATERTOWN, MA February 23, 2021—Despite rapid vaccine distribution, US physicians on the COVID-19 front lines delayed their estimates of a physical return to normalcy until February 2020—four months longer than they estimated in June 2020. While physicians report that on most days they experience optimism and pride in their contributions to fighting the pandemic, 48% also report they are burnt out by it all, and 24% note that their mental health has seriously suffered since the pandemic. An overwhelming 75% report frustration over those who deny the existence of COVID-19. This was the top sentiment, among both positive and negative statements, reported by respondents regarding their feelings during the month of December 2020, followed by 63% who say they are hopeful because of the vaccines.

Data are part of the Wave 7 of the Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frontline Treating Physicians Tracking Report from InCrowd, the pioneer for real-time, high-quality primary market intelligence for the life science industry. The full report is available here.

“Our data corroborate major physician burnout studies and by looking specifically at frontline COVID-19 treaters on such dimensions as mental health and concern over personal and familial safety, present important dimensions that the healthcare industry should examine as they consider the road forward,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO of Apollo Intelligence, parent to InCrowd. “Despite expanding vaccine distribution in the US, frontline treaters continue to predict that normalcy is even further away. As a company and as a nation, we are deeply indebted to this community, and we will continue to monitor their sentiments as we inch toward a new equilibrium.”

In wide-ranging data on testing, facility, governmental capacity, return to normalcy predictions, and physician stressors, US frontline treaters documented significantly higher COVID-19 test accuracy than they did in June, with over half reporting 75% or above accuracy for viral tests, and a third reporting 75% or above accuracy with antibody tests. Though 87% of respondents report access to testing, just 64% say their facilities can test every patient who needs to be tested.

Yet metrics on facility preparedness have not improved since June, with only 36% of frontline treaters reporting adequate supplies, 25% reporting necessary contact tracing capacity, and 24% reporting adequate staffing—the latter dropping sharply from an estimated 51% in May 2020.

The personal toll on COVID-19 frontline-treating physicians showed with 48% of respondents saying they were burned out from it all in the past 30 days, and the same percentage saying they’re on autopilot, just trying to keep going. Twenty-one percent said they considered quitting their jobs, while 15% reported that even though they lived with their families, they don’t hug their loved ones for fear of giving them COVID-19. Two-thirds (66%) said they are concerned for the safety of a loved one due to their exposure as a treating physician for COVID-19, a significant rise since June.

The data also found that:

  • Hydroxychloroquine treatment has plummeted to just 1%, down from 21% in April.
  • Sixty-four percent of physicians report adequate testing capacity, up significantly from 48% in June.
  • Just 56% of physicians say they have the necessary protective equipment to stay safe, a significant increase from 37% in June.
  • Only 10% of physicians mentioned concerns about salary cuts or loss of revenues, down from 19% in June.
  • Fifty-two percent of physicians say things won’t return to normal until mass vaccination dissemination and accessibility is achieved. Verbatim remarks voice that many believe public acceptance, not vaccine access, will be the biggest barrier to ending the pandemic.
    • “I think it will take two more full flu seasons to hash this out. My estimate is 2023. At that time there will be more info on how effective the vaccine is and if boosters will be needed, and we will also get buy-in from lay people who do not trust the vaccine and are waiting to see how it affects others.Pediatrician, NM
  • At the time of response, over half of frontline physicians had already received the vaccine, and an additional quarter had plans to receive it in the next few weeks.

InCrowd Novel Coronavirus (COVID-19) Frontline Treating Physician Tracking Report – Wave 7 data were sourced from InCrowd’s proprietary panel of global healthcare professionals (HCPs) on December 23, 2020. The 231 respondents include US-based primary care physicians (PCPs) (n=73), pediatricians (PEDs) (n=58), and emergency medicine or critical care physicians (EMCCs) (n=100) who completed a 12-minute MicroSurvey.

About Apollo Intelligence, LLC

Apollo Intelligence’s mission is to accelerate health innovation to improve life. In 2019, Apollo launched with the acquisition of InCrowd, the pioneer of real-time automated insights for the life sciences industry. To complement InCrowd and strengthen its global reach, in 2020 Apollo acquired SurveyHealthcareGlobus, the global market leader of first-party healthcare data collection and custom survey solutions. Apollo provides access to 2M healthcare stakeholders worldwide—including physicians, patients, caregivers, and allied healthcare professionals. Apollo’s 190 employees support top global pharmaceutical brands, market research agencies, and consultancies across 12 different countries in the Americas, Europe, and Asia. For more information about Apollo, please visit our website at www.apollointelligence.net.

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