Approximately seven months after the coronavirus sparked social distancing measures and concerns about hospital capacity, new medical records data help shed light on the magnitude of the drop in hospital admissions and the more recent rebound in hospitalizations. These new data provide additional information to help assess the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on hospitals and insurers and also provide more information to help assess the extent to which people are still delaying or forgoing care. We analyze trends in total hospital admissions and then separately analyze non-COVID-19 admissions by patient sex, age, and region. We calculate actual admissions as a share of total predicted admissions in 2020 based on trends from past years. Key findings include:
- Total hospital admissions dropped to as low as 68.6% of predicted admissions during the week of April 11, 2020 and then increased to a high of 94.3% of predicted levels by the week of July 11, 2020. As of August 8, 2020, admission volume has dipped slightly to 90.8% of predicted levels.
- Overall, the number of hospitalizations lost due to declines in admissions between March 8 and August 8, 2020, represent 6.9% of the total expected admissions for 2020.
- When looking specifically at non-COVID-19 admissions, people age 65 and older had about half as many admissions in late March and April compared to what was predicted. While their admissions have increased somewhat, they stabilized at approximately 80-85% of their predicted level in late July and early August—while admissions for people under age 65 were at about 90% of predicted levels during the same period.
This new analysis is based on electronic medical record (EMR) data from Epic Health Research Network (EHRN) and includes all inpatient hospital admission volume from Dec 31, 2017 to August 8, 2020, involving patients who either were discharged or died, as of September 13, 2020. Data are aggregated weekly and pooled from 27 health care organizations in the United States, representing 162 hospitals that span 21 states and cover 22 million patients. These states represent 67.0% of COVID-19 cases as of September 23, 2020 and also represent 66.5% of the U.S. population.1 Predicted volume was calculated using historical data from Dec 31, 2017 to Jan 25, 2020.2 COVID-19 admissions were identified as admissions with either a documented COVID-19 diagnosis (U07.01) or other respiratory diagnosis involving a patient who either had tested positive or presumptive positive for COVID-19 or received a COVID-19 diagnosis within 14 days of the admission.