Saying that a global pandemic is having a negative effect on people’s health seems obvious.
However, along with direct cases of COVID-19, there is concern that that people are delaying their usual medical care. More than two-thirds (68%) of American adults said that they or someone they know has put off care due to the pandemic, according to a recent Harris Poll commissioned by Johnson & Johnson Medical Devices Companies.
That’s why the medical device maker launched the “My Health Can’t Wait” campaign. The online effort aims to give both patients and physicians information and resources about healthcare options during the pandemic.
The campaign website gives patients categories of resources including discussion guides, telehealth basics, safety questions and answers, and patient stories. For healthcare providers, there are surgery discussion checklists, email templates and recommendations on how to better communicate with patients.
While the vast majority of Americans surveyed said overall health (88%), preventative healthcare (73%), and sick care (63%) were a priority during COVID-19, only 31% said elective surgery or medical procedures were a priority, Harris found.
In fact, J&J Medical Devices, which includes surgery, vision, orthopedics and cardiovascular solutions, recently reported that its devices sales fell 32.5% in the second quarter—a victim of delayed and cancelled elective procedures during the pandemic.
Jijo James, J&J's chief medical officer for medical devices, emphasized the importance of telehealth options in a recent interview. He pointed to the Harris survey data, showing 20% of patients would return to care if they received a call from their doctor. Conversely, 40% said they would delay care if they were not contacted by their healthcare provider.
Putting off routine and preventative exams can have “a tremendous impact" on future health, James said, recounting taking his own 82-year-old father to the dentist as a personal example that he practices what he preaches.
“Johnson & Johnson believes that it is more important than ever for patients to get the care they need, especially when they need it," he added.