The Impact of COVID-19 on Lab Testing Trends at a National Level
- May 20, 2020
- Posted in Lab Testing Trends
The pandemic has had a profound impact on healthcare, some long lasting and some fleeting, but important nevertheless. Prognos Health has been monitoring the impact COVID-19 has had on overall lab testing. While testing for all conditions has declined we’ve noted that lab testing volume at a national level is starting to rebound.
Prognos uses a large representative sample from a subset of the company’s lab testing registry as a proxy for projections of national volume of testing and the trends are compared on a weekly basis year-to-date. The national trend in testing was relatively stable through mid-March. The first two weeks of the shutdown showed a decrease in national lab testing trends of 23% and 38% weekly, for an overall drop of 53% over those two weeks. This lower volume persisted for some time, but we find it encouraging that the market trend has stabilized showing signs of recovery with three consecutive weeks of double-digit percentage increases. Data from the most recent period (week ending 5/8) shows an increase with a 21% increase over the prior week.
This had a major impact on the healthcare ecosystem from patients needing to be routinely tested and monitored for medication levels to oncology testing vital to early diagnosis. For example, according to an article on MedScape, Clinicians, Researchers Adjust to COVID Cancer Upheaval, 60% of [prostate-specific antigen] tests are down as of the week before May 18th.
This trend is both difficult and yet actionable. Understanding the trends in testing for your brand can better inform your alternative channels such as digital. In this article, 5 Ways to Immunize Your Pharma Brand Against the COVID-19 Downturn, the authors write about the opportunity to leverage digital marketing and e-detailing to better target HCPs during the age of COVID. Further, more granular brand-specific testing trends may be useful in direct field force redeployment strategies as the country begins responsible actions to reopen.