August 2020 – As both the healthcare delivery system and governmental agencies are formulating response and mitigation plans for the coronavirus pandemic, the importance of timely and reliable health data has never been more urgent. As a national leader in APCD management and analytics, Onpoint is positioned to provide clients and their stakeholders with insights regarding how COVID-19 has impacted healthcare cost, utilization, and quality.
Building on initial reporting that leveraged APCD data to identify vulnerable populations in support of state and regional planning efforts, Onpoint now is assessing the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare delivery for our clients. Using APCD claims data that identify services delivered in the early months of the COVID pandemic, Onpoint has developed a series of reports that we are making available to clients in their upcoming data refresh cycles.
One such report includes tracking data on COVID-19-specific procedure and diagnosis codes, which began to appear in March 2020 (although this varies by payer and by geography). Additionally, Onpoint is analyzing monthly utilization and cost trends for broad categories of claims (e.g., facility claims, emergency department services, etc.) as well as specific procedure types (e.g. telehealth visits) that likely have been impacted by the pandemic. These reports provide insight into overarching healthcare trends, the frequency of specific services, and the rates of standard utilization and quality measures that clients can expect to see in their future data releases.
Preliminary results illustrate the impact of the coronavirus pandemic and underscore the value of this data for planning purposes. For example, diagnostic mammogram and screening services declined starting in March 2020. Conversely, telehealth visits increased dramatically in the same period. Psychotherapy visits decreased in overall volume starting in March 2020, although there is evidence that telehealth visits for psychotherapy services began to increase in March and April 2020. These trends can help identify the types of services that patients may need in the coming months.
These data are preliminary and non-conclusive, and many questions remain. To answer remaining questions, Onpoint is continuing to expand our current reporting and develop additional reports to help clients find answers to their questions and set the stage for successful response planning.
Additional reports currently in development will provide the tools to show the impact of COVID-19 by provider specialty (e.g., taxonomy code), pharmaceutical therapeutic categories (e.g., antidepressants), inpatient diagnostic category and procedure, and more. A comparative report of members with and without a COVID-19 diagnosis, including comorbid conditions, also is being developed to identify trends in use of emergency services, inpatient stays, and ICU and ventilator services. Analysis trending will focus on both utilization and expenditures associated with COVID.
The COVID-19 pandemic demonstrates the critical importance of available and reliable data systems – APCDs, hospital encounter, clinical registry, and public health registries among them – along with skilled analysts in order to rapidly understand the impact of a major public health event and how to most effectively respond. Onpoint will be meeting this need in close collaboration with our clients.
Figure 1. Preliminary Analysis of 2019-2020 Trends in Reported Data (Through March 2020)