As of March 31, governors in 30 states and the mayor of Washington, DC, had issued stay-at-home orders. While many of these orders extend well into April or early May, Virginia’s order could extend potentially until June 10. Those actions seem to have added to the stress about financial and management implications for eye care professionals. Indeed, 77 percent of respondents in the most recent Jobson Optical Research survey said that they expect this COVID-19 experience to have a significant financial impact on their businesses. That percentage has increased with every new wave of the survey.
The fourth wave of the survey measures the attitudes and market trends from March 28-30. The results show practitioners working to maintain connections to their patient base. Many say they are connecting via telemedicine offerings, phone and social media outreach and working to provide products and services in some way.
TELEHEALTH ACTIVITY JUMPS
Interest in providing telehealth services for patients has already taken root. In less than a week, the percentage of respondents who said that they have already begun to offer telemedicine services increased from 13 percent to 20 percent. Now, more than 50 percent of respondents said they are either considering adding or have already added telemedicine services.
In addition, patients’ interest in accessing telemedicine services may be rising. Thirty-six percent of the respondents in the wave 4 survey said their patients are more interested, up from 30 percent in the third wave. In the second and first waves, it was 21 percent and 17 percent, respectively.
Those who are providing telemedicine services are using these technologies:
- Phone-based consultations: 79%
- Video/image consultations: 74%
- Mobile apps: 18%
- Other: 3%
The percentage of practitioners who said they have billed for telemedicine services increased from 26 percent in the third wave to 44 percent in the second wave.
Respondents said that their personal and business stress levels are fairly high. The average personal stress level for the third and fourth wave remains unchanged at 6.7 on a 10-point scale. The level of business stress has increased slightly. In the third wave, the average business-related stress was 7.3 on the 10-point scale. In the fourth wave, that rose to 7.4.
Uncertainty remains, as evidenced by respondents’ interests in guidance with staffing resources, negotiating payments and loans and unemployment resources. Between the third and fourth wave of the survey, interest surged in how to gear up for reopening and in understanding small business loans. Note that the CARES Act passed into law on Friday, March 27.
DOWNLOAD FULL RESULTS
The full result of this survey, which includes data from earlier waves, is downloadable here.
You can read WO‘s third wave survey results article here.