CVS: Pandemic influenced personal health improvements

The COVID-19 pandemic has led many people to take control of their health, according to the 2021 Health Care Insights Survey from CVS Health. 

The survey, which queried 1,000 consumers and 400 providers, found 77% of people said the pandemic has led them to pay more attention to their health. For many, 2020 was an opportunity to reflect on health goals and priorities. Another 50% of respondents said stay-at-home orders helped them achieve their health goals.

“Over the past year and a half, we have witnessed a dramatic shift in consumer health care preferences and needs,” CVS Health President and CEO Karen S. Lynch said in a statement. “These shifts toward personalized care have the potential to impact our health care system well past the pandemic, with many people taking a more engaged approach to their own health. Going forward, we have an opportunity to take what we’ve learned and continue to foster an integrated health model that is centered around the needs of the individual.”

While more are feeling hands-on about their health, access to health care was still a top factor for 55% of respondents in what influenced their care decisions. Location of care was another top factor for 43% of respondents.

Additionally, the way people have sought out care has changed since the pandemic began, with more people seeking alternative sources. For instance, routine care from primary care physicians has dropped to 56% from 62% in 2020. The use of online resources has also risen, to 19% from 212% in 2020. Other local resources are also up, such as community health centers (19% versus 15% in 2020), and local pharmacies (17% versus 11% in 2020).

The study also reaffirmed other findings showing a surge in virtual care during social distancing, with 57% of respondents using virtual care for a health visit. More providers also indicated access to virtual care visits would be valuable for patients. 

Meanwhile many respondents said the COVID-19 pandemic had increased their stress levels, depression and unhappiness around social connections. Many also reported heightened feelings of isolation and loneliness, as well as weight gain and anxiety.

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