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Jin-Ah Sim 1 Article
The impact of COVID-19 on cancer care in a tertiary hospital in Korea: possible collateral damage to emergency care
Shin Hye Yoo, Jin-Ah Sim, Jeongmi Shin, Bhumsuk Keam, Jun-Bean Park, Aesun Shin
Epidemiol Health. 2022;44:e2022044.   Published online May 1, 2022
DOI: https://doi.org/10.4178/epih.e2022044
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  • 1 Citations
AbstractAbstract AbstractSummary PDFSupplementary Material
Abstract
OBJECTIVES
We investigated the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care in a tertiary hospital in Korea without specific lockdown measures.
METHODS
A retrospective cohort of cancer patients from one of the largest tertiary hospitals in Korea was used to compare healthcare utilization in different settings (outpatient cancer clinic, the emergency department [ED], and admissions to the hematology/oncology ward) between January 1 and December 31, 2020 and the same time period in 2019. The percent changes in healthcare utilization between the 2 periods were calculated.
RESULTS
A total of 448,833 cases from the outpatient cohort, 26,781 cases from the ED cohort, and 14,513 cases from the admission cohort were reviewed for 2019 and 2020. The total number of ED visit cases significantly decreased from 2019 to 2020 by 18.04%, whereas the proportion of cancer patients remained stable. The reduction in ED visits was more prominent in patients with symptoms suspicious for COVID-19, high-acuity cases, and those who lived in non-capital city areas. There were no significant changes in the number of total visits, new cases in the outpatient clinic, or the total number of hospitalizations between the 2 periods.
CONCLUSIONS
During the pandemic, the number of ED visits significantly decreased, while the use of the outpatient clinic and hospitalizations were not affected. Cancer patients’ ED visits decreased after the COVID-19 outbreak, suggesting the potential for collateral damage outside the hospital if patients cannot reach the ED in a timely manner.
Summary
Korean summary
코로나19 이전인 2019년에 비해 코로나19 유행 첫 해인 2020년에 암환자의 1개 상급종합병원 응급실 방문이 유의하게 감소하였고, 특히 코로나19 의심 증상이 있거나, 중증도가 높거나, 비수도권 지역에 거주하는 환자에서 응급실 방문의 감소가 뚜렷하였다. 코로나19 이전과 코로나19 유행 시 외래 방문 암환자의 수, 신환 수는 큰 차이가 없었고, 입원한 암환자의 수 역시 유의한 차이가 없었다. 코로나19 대유행 시 암환자의 응급실 방문 감소는 병원 밖에서 적시에 응급실에 방문하지 못하는 부수적 피해의 가능성을 시사하여, 이에 대한 관심이 필요하다.
Key Message
The study identified a significant decrease in the emergency department visits of the cancer patients at a tertiary hospital in Korea during the COVID-19 pandemic. There were no significant changes in the number of total visits, new cases in the outpatient clinic, or the total number of hospitalizations between pre-COVID-19 and during-COVID-19 periods.

Citations

Citations to this article as recorded by  
  • COVID-19 Outbreak in Daegu City, Korea and Response to COVID-19: How Have We Dealt and What Are the Lessons?
    Shin-Woo Kim
    Journal of Korean Medical Science.2022;[Epub]     CrossRef

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