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Dr. Sara Pastoor, Elation Health Aam Harrison, Manifex MedEx

How medical practices can prepare for the post-COVID boom

By Dr. Sara Pastoor
Director of Primary Care Advancement, Elation Health

By Adam Harrison
Chief Growth Officer, Manifest MedEx

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Original Publish Date: July 13, 2021

As California reopens, ambulatory medical practices across the state are gearing up for the surge of catch-up care with their patients. There’s a lot of work to do. Californians fell as much as 50% behind on medical care during the 2020 pandemic, with the volume of preventive services, such as cancer screenings, falling between 20%-40%, according to a newly released report by Manifest MedEx, California’s largest nonprofit health information network. A Kaiser Family Foundation survey found that “27% of those who say they or a family member skipped or postponed care say that either they or their family member experienced a worsening medical condition as a result,” such as mental health conditions and kidney problems.

Patients are coming back with potentially more severe clinical needs and the need to catch up on missed preventive care. How can practices gear up for this moment, scaling up to deliver more care without burning out, while making the most of this opportunity to improve hard-hit finances? Our experts have some suggestions:

With nearly four million cases in our state, the pandemic year has brought devastating outcomes for patients across California. And we’re just starting to see the lasting impact of both the COVID-19 virus and the gaps in medical care. At the same time, the tragedies of the pandemic have accelerated the demand for real-time information about patient care. Over the last year, practices often did not know when their patients tested positive for COVID-19 or were vaccinated, and they are now turning to HIEs for comprehensive patient information and insights, organized in easy-to-use tools, to support the surge in catch-up care.

While our state’s healthcare leaders are facing new and unprecedented health challenges this year, they are also leading new and innovative ways to deliver care safely and effectively to patients while supporting ambulatory providers and healthcare workers. In every medical practice, this is a moment for rethinking and reimagining the way we build back better for our communities.

Dr. Sara Pastoor is director of primary care advancement at Elation Health, the platform for innovative independent practices. Adam Harrison is chief growth officer at Manifest MedEx, California’s largest nonprofit health information network.