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Nearly 3 in 4 Physicians Say They Can’t Provide Easy & Rapid COVID-19 Testing

Development of new lab tests to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus that causes COVID-19 coronavirus has been faster and more prolific than anybody could dare expect for a pathogen that was unknown just a few months ago. But it still may not be enough to satisfy the urgent demand for COVID-19 testing—at least not yet. That’s the depressing conclusion of a new survey from Harvard Medical School, the Rand Corporation and Doximity, a professional medical network of which 70% of US physicians are members

Quick and Easy Testing Remains Elusive

Conducted between March 21-24, the survey “Physicians Views on the Coronavirus Pandemic Response,” included 2,600 physicians. Half of the respondents said they’ve treated at least one patient with potential COVID-19 symptoms. When asked whether they were “currently able to test their patients for COVID-19 quickly and easily,” 73.3% of those physicians who reported treating at least one potential COVID-19 case answered “no.”

Some of the other noteworthy survey findings:

  • Close to 50% of the physicians surveyed said they believed patients are avoiding testing due to financial and health insurance concerns;
  • Over 77% reported that they don’t believe their hospital/clinic has adequate medical supplies and equipment if the pandemic worsens;
  • Close to 70% believe that the government hasn’t taken appropriate measures to support the medical supply chain and ensure that their hospital/clinic has the medical supplies it needs to address the pandemic;
  • Close to 60% did not believe that there were enough precautions in place in their clinic to protect them from infection while treating COVID-19 patients;
  • 70% did not believe the government is responding adequately to the pandemic;
  • Nearly 60% believed social distancing, closing schools and travel restrictions were an appropriate reaction to the potential risks of COVID-19;
  • Nearly 60% believe the stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders would do the most to “flatten the curve,” while nearly 25% believed free COVID-19 drive through and mail in testing would do the most; and
  • Over 50% reported increasing their use of telemedicine in response to the pandemic.


“The findings highlight the difficult road ahead for healthcare providers confronting the coronavirus pandemic,” said Chris Whaley, Ph.D., lead author and Policy Researcher at the RAND Corporation in a press release. “We hope this insight on physician experiences and concerns surrounding the pandemic will help design appropriate and immediate policy response.” It’s also worth noting that much has happened since the survey, including the adoption of the CARES Act and the COVID-19 acceleration of the testing pipeline. Regrettably, the physician outlook from an anecdotal basis seems to remain less than optimistic.









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