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When Will Patients Start Going Back to the Doctor?

 

Last week, the New York Times published a story titled The Pandemic’s Hidden Victims: Sick or Dying, but Not From the Virus about the difficulty of obtaining  care during the coronavirus pandemic, either because procedures have been canceled, medical supplies are unavailable or patients are too scared. The story covered life-saving treatments such as cancer treatments, organ transplants, and neurosurgery. And it started us thinking: If life-saving treatments are so difficult to access, then what about quality-of-life saving treatments? 

We examined our data surrounding Botox for chronic migraine to uncover at the drug level, just how unavailable treatments have been made available to patients who require them. Chronic migraine patients are severely debilitated, suffering from 15 or more migraine days a month, and stress and anxiety worsen migraines.  Botox is an in-office treatment, requiring patients to visit a doctor to obtain the therapy. But In these restricted times, are patients really making the trip to the doctor? The data demonstrates that stay-at-home orders have clearly affected chronic migraine patients’ access to relief:

  • Botox treatments for migraine held steady through January, February, and early March.
  • For the two-week period March 23 to April 5 of 2020, treatments declined by 58% compared to the two week period February 24th to March 8th. Those suffering from chronic migraines are following states’ stay-at-home orders and choosing to not visit their doctor for treatment.
  • Declines were experienced across every state, with some showing declines of up to 88%.
  • In the time period March 23 to April 5 there was a 45% increase in the total percentage of procedures performed by neurologists versus February 24th to March 8th, suggesting that the most severely affected are taking a potential risk and visiting medical facilities to receive treatment.

IPM.ai's system of insight empowers you to discover these trends in nearly real time. 

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