martes, 04 de mayo del 2021
|Checking In with HPI: COVID-19’s Economic Impact on Dentistry|
Today, more than 50 percent of U.S. adults have received at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine. As healthcare personnel, you may have been vaccinated earlier in the year, but now, it’s possible that some of your friends and family have also been vaccinated. In every state, any person over the age of 16 who wants a vaccine is eligible to get one. Evolving projections from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently posit that 70 percent of Americans could receive a shot by July.
With that, perhaps you’re making summer or fall plans—whether it’s travelling to meet vaccinated friends, planning a small backyard gathering, or attending a dental meeting. This is the current state of our nation’s fight against COVID-19: Although the fight is far from over, we are beginning to step into the future we hoped for just a year ago.
This time last year, dentistry was also imagining its future. In April 2020, seventy-nine percent of dental practices were closed except for urgent or emergency procedures, and 17 percent were closed completely as the ADA developed what would become the interim guidance that has helped keep dentistry safe for patients and dental teams. At the time, so many of us were grappling with uncertainty—will our patients return? Will our practices bounce back?
In addition to being a leading voice in research and policy, the ADA’s Health Policy Institute (HPI) has monitored the economic impact of COVID-19 on dentistry since last spring, tracking the highs, lows, and drivers of our profession’s pandemic recovery. I’m proud to say that the latest wave of HPI data, released on April 12, indicates more than ninety-nine percent of U.S. dental practices are open. Patient volumes in private practices have reached 86 percent of pre-pandemic levels—the highest they’ve been since the pandemic’s onset.
Public confidence in dentistry has reached a new high too, as 93 percent of typical dental patients have indicated that they are ready to go back to the dentist or have recently visited. HPI anticipates increased patient volumes in the coming months and cites the continued vaccine rollout as a major driver.
We’ve also learned that dental hygienists who left the workforce during the pandemic are gradually returning, with the percentage of those no longer working as hygienists dropping from eight percent in October 2020 to 5.8 percent as of March 2021. (For the latest on how COVID-19 has affected the dental hygiene community, register to attend a live webinar to be presented by ADA and the American Dental Hygiene Association on May 4th.)
I encourage you to check out the latest wave of COVID-19 impact data from HPI, which can be customized by state, specialty, and practice type. HPI also provides special reports on public health dentistry.
Continue to stay informed as new waves of data are released monthly. And consider participating in upcoming polls. Your voice and experiences are vital for assessing dentistry’s economic recovery.
|Daniel J. Klemmedson, D.D.S., M.D
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