Where Are All the Patients? Addressing Covid-19 Fear to Encourage Sick Patients to Seek Emergency Care

Emergency department volume is down nearly 50% as the United States struggles with the Covid-19 epidemic. There is increasing evidence that patients with medical emergencies are avoiding the emergency department because of fear of contracting Covid-19, leading to increased morbidity and mortality. Here, the authors describe efforts taken in a community hospital to understand and combat this public health concern by using human-centered design. They share interview themes, the brainstorming process, and implementation of prototypes, as well as challenges faced in the early stages of implementation. They show that addressing patient fears by dividing the emergency department into respiratory and non-respiratory pods and through targeted messaging can result in increased visits to the
emergency room. Time will tell if this results in improved health outcomes for community members.

Where Are All the Patients? Addressing Covid-19 Fear to Encourage Sick Patients to Seek Emergency Care
Size: 488 KB