Following the Numbers: COVID Trends by Age, Gender, and Care Setting

Following the Numbers: COVID Trends by Age, Gender, and Care Setting

Tracking the Impact of COVID-19 Using All-Payer Claims Data

By Dave Sellers and Morgan Atkins

In a recent blog post, we took a data-based look at virtual care. We considered the importance of data for growth planning and how All-Payer Claims Data (APCD) provides unique insights that can inform hospitals and health systems as they prepare to respond to the growth of telemedicine.

In this post, we’re once again analyzing APCD, this time looking for COVID-19 trends. We’ve reviewed data trends from January - June of 2020, compared year-over-year numbers to see shifts from 2019 to 2020, and considered pre- vs post-COVID diagnosis code fluctuations. It’s important to note that while we reviewed diagnosis codes related to COVID, there are several which are for negative for inconclusive results. See below for our findings related to gender, age, and care setting shifts.

Trends by Gender

While there’s been much discussion about how racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19, we were curious to see if there were similar disparities between males and females. Our APCD data shows that gender is in fact not a factor.

The chart below shows a demographically adjusted nationwide look at males vs. females. These numbers reflect a rate per 1000 who sought care for COVID-like symptoms or potential COVID exposure. Of those with a confirmed COVID-19 diagnosis, there is a marginally higher number of females, but overall, no significant difference between the genders.


Trends by Age

When looking at trends by age, we defined our groups in the following ways:

  • 0-17 children
  • 18-29 young adult
  • 30-64 adults
  • 65+ seniors

The chart below shows a demographically adjusted nationwide look at COVID testing trends, showing all COVID-related Dx codes where once again tracking positive diagnoses. Seniors in the age group of 65+ have seen the highest rates of positive diagnoses.


Trends by Care Setting

In this final analysis, we wanted to uncover where patients are seeking care and how things have changed between 2019 and 2020. This research wasn’t COVID specific but considered all kinds of care. 

Unsurprisingly, the number of care visits went up from April to May 2020, showing an increased level of comfort in being seen by a doctor. In May, elective surgeries restarted, but even with this uptick, there’s still about 60% fewer surgeries being performed when compared to 2019. Hospital inpatient visits, by contrast, still haven’t rebounded. 

The chart below compares January 2019 with January 2020. In summary, we found the following:

  • Overall, across all care settings shown, visits are down 40% year over year. 
  • There was a 57% drop in ER visits, likely driven by fear over going to the ER. 
  • There was an almost 34% drop in inpatient visits year over year and a 62% drop in outpatient year over year.


The Takeaway

There’s a wealth of insight to be gathered from analyzing healthcare data. The key is uncovering the right insights that can inform how you plan and prepare for the future. Knowing where to look for answers starts with knowing which questions to ask and which datasets are most appropriate to answer those questions. 

For more information about how to answer the right growth questions with the right data, contact us, and schedule a discovery call with one of our experts today. 

Article by Dave Sellers, Senior Data Analyst and Morgan Atkins, VP Product and Innovation for Stratasan

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