53% of physicians report jump in unhoused, impoverished patients: 4 survey findings

The pandemic-related economic downturn is creating serious health consequences for patients worldwide, according to a Sermo study published March 16.

Sermo surveyed a random sample of 2,696 physicians from 30 countries between Feb. 25 and March 1.

Four study findings:

1. Fifty-three percent of respondents said they've seen an increase in patients who are unhoused or in poverty in the last year. In this U.S., this figure was 49 percent. 

2. Fifty-five percent of physicians globally and 56 percent in the U.S. said they've seen an increase in patients moving or switching physicians because they've lost their job or house in the last year.

3. About 73 percent of U.S. physicians said patients have skipped necessary treatments or appointments because of cost concerns or lost health coverage. 

4. Overall, 77 percent of physicians cited mental health problems as the biggest health effect linked to poverty, followed by stress (60 percent) and inability to afford treatments or medications (56 percent). 

"Regardless of country and whether they have a nationalized health system, physicians are witnessing dire health consequences due to the economic fall-out caused by COVID-19," Sermo CEO Peter Kirk said in a news release. "A chief concern is the long-term impact on people's health and wellness that isn't directly related to the pandemic once the worst of the COVID-19 storm has passed."

To view the full survey, click here.

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