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US Physicians Aren’t Being Heard on COVID-19, But They Want A Voice Even More So Today, According to New Data by InCrowd

March 26, 2020

While test kit availability has more than tripled since February, InCrowd’s Wave 3 COVID-19 data reports only 13% of respondents believe they have the necessary protective equipment needed to stay healthy

WATERTOWN, MA March 26, 2019—As the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) continues to spread worldwide, over 70% of US physicians report that they have deep concerns for their personal safety, the safety of their loved ones, and the scarcity of supplies, resources, and trained staff to care for patients. This is according to new research conducted and sourced from InCrowd, the pioneer for real-time, high-quality primary market intelligence for the life science industry.

“…First, [the CDC] said we need N95 masks and other masks would not protect us. As those are running out then they said just use regular surgical masks. Now they are saying use bandanas and scarves! It’s like they don’t care about the safety of the people who will be treating the ill! We don’t want to bring it home to or families!” —Primary Care Physician, CA

Data sourced last Thursday, March 19 and Friday, March 20, 2020 show that:

  • Seventy percent (70%) of physicians report concern for both personal safety and (78%) the safety of loved ones due to their exposure. When prompted for their facilities’ resource shortage, more than half (52%) mention personal protective equipment (PPE), a quarter mention N95 masks, and 18% mention testing kits.
  • Half report their facilities are overwhelmed with “worried well” negative COVID-19 patients, more than double that of actual COVID-19 cases (22%). Less than a third report facility collaboration, and very few note adequate staffing (16%) and supplies (9%).
  • Only 13% of respondents believe they have the necessary protective equipment needed to stay healthy.
  • Few are optimistic today about the efficacy of public-private collaboration (21%), their own safety given current PPE supply, as above (13%), and the US’s ability to ‘flatten the curve’ (12%).
  • Though testing kit availability has more than tripled since February, with 67% reporting access, respondents say that the most pressing actions state and local authorities could take to support them would be improving testing capacity and regulations (45%), increasing PPE availability (39%), and enacting a shelter-in-place policy (21%).
  • Physicians report that they suspect an average of ten of their patients to be infected with COVID-19, which represents 8% of their total number of patients in the last two weeks—up from 1 patient in total among all asked in Wave 2 on February 27, and none reported in Wave 1 on February 4.
  • Accounts of patient concerns have also jumped to 77%, more than doubling since Wave 2 published on February 27.

“Since January, we’ve been monitoring the views and impact of the coronavirus on our healthcare professionals—many on the frontlines. Their frustrations and concerns about their ability to protect themselves while meeting upcoming patient care levels has increased significantly in the last three months,” said Daniel S. Fitzgerald, CEO and president of InCrowd. “Our real-time, mobile-friendly platform empowers physicians to seamlessly share feedback from the frontlines of care delivery, which is vital during this pandemic. Our HCP respondents have made it clear in these findings that this crisis won’t be overcome without insights from the experts on the ground.”

When respondents were asked if they wished to continue conducting research during this demanding time, 97% said yes, that they wish to continue sharing feedback like this during the COVID-19 crisis. Fifty-two percent say that they want to help, while 25% say they believe the information they have is impactful during this time. Respondents also requested that results are leveraged to improve public and government awareness (21%). Verbatim responses echoed the data.

“The more voices weigh in on the current challenges working as a healthcare provider during this pandemic, the more we as a country will be able to better prepare for future pandemics.” —Primary Care Physician, CA

We work on the frontlines so our overall exposure, knowledge, and experience with the disease is the highest. —Emergency Medicine Physician, TX

Though much of Wave 3’s data expressed pessimism and grievance, some more positive findings from Wave 3 also emerged:

  • Nearly all respondents’ treating facilities are now recommending COVID-19 protocols (95%), up 20 percentage points since February.
  • Eighty six percent believe that the current advising of social distancing and avoiding gatherings of more than 10 individuals is justified given the current risk.
  • Respondents are witnessing strong community support (43%), adherence to initiatives that reduce spread (28%), and collaboration within health systems (17%).

Consistent with Waves 1 (n=150) and 2 (n=150) published on February 4, 2020 and February 27, 2020 respectively, Wave 3 data fielded from n=263 qualified, US physicians responding to a 10-minute MicroSurvey™ on March 19-20, 2020. These frontline physicians included emergency medicine or critical care specialists (48% or n=126), pediatricians (24% or n=63) and primary care physicians (28% or n=74), each of whom is treating 20 or more unique patients for flu-like symptoms.

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