New study finds elevated COVID-19 cases among doctors in US internal medicine
A new study finds that an increase in the prevalence of COVID infections in the US internal health care workforce could have contributed to a significant increase in cases of the coronavirus in medical offices, with more than three quarters of the patients tested showing elevated COV-19 infection status.
Researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School conducted the study of nearly 3,000 doctors who work in emergency rooms and in general medical practice in the United States.
They found that an increased prevalence of elevated COVR-19 infections in this group contributed to an increase of more than 25% in the number of COVR infections in their offices during the first six months of 2018.
The increase in COVR infection prevalence was greater in emergency room physicians than in other medical staff, the study said.
The study, published online today in the American Journal of Public Health, found that COVR diagnoses in emergency physicians accounted for an increase (18%) of the COVR cases in their office, with the increase most pronounced in the department of emergency medicine (49%), which was the second-highest group of doctors, after general medicine.
It also found that in general, the COVID infection rate increased more in emergency department physicians than other staff in the same setting.
The researchers said they were surprised to see an increase with emergency department doctors in the presence of COV infections.
The study found that among the COV diagnoses, emergency department patients had higher rates of COVP, a viral infection caused by coronaviruses, than non-emergency department patients, who had the lowest rates.
“This study is the first to find that a change in COVID status is associated with increased COVR and COVR mortality among general and emergency department physician populations,” said Dr. Jennifer Riggs, lead author of the study and a professor of epidemiology and public health at the university.
“Our study suggests that it’s possible to make health care settings more infectious by having higher rates, even in settings that are not currently infectious,” she said.
“The findings highlight the need to develop effective, evidence-based policies to reduce COVID transmission and infection risk in healthcare settings,” Dr. Riggs said.
Coverage and caregiving are often seen as key factors in preventing COVID and other infections.
This study suggests these behaviors are also associated with higher COVID diagnoses, which could increase healthcare costs.
“There’s still work to be done in developing and implementing strategies to reduce hospitalization, hospitalization costs and COVID hospitalizations in general,” Riggs added.
Covenant Health Systems, which runs the nation’s largest hospital system, has been using a “care-first” approach to reduce infection rates and COV hospitalizations, which the study did not examine.
The University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston, Texas, also released a statement following the study:We have been working with the University Health Network and UTMB to develop and share our work to improve our health system and our workforce.
UTMB is committed to increasing our COVID screening and care practices and our healthcare workforce by leveraging the technology advancements and partnerships that UTMB has established in recent years.