Coronavirus BRIEFING

Closings Increase in More Parts of U.S., ECPs Worry About Staff, Use of Telehealth/Mobile Communication Grows

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NEW YORK—ECPs are reporting more office closures in more parts of the U.S. as the coronavirus pandemic grows in more regions, and their response to the Jobson Optical Research 4th Wave of its ECP Coronavirus Survey, conducted March 28-30, reflects their growing business concerns, especially as it impacts their employees, learning how to navigate state and federal stimulus resources. For those that are focusing on offering urgent and emergent care, they continue to reconfirm the importance of being available to patients by providing remote or mobile telehealth consults.

In this most recent survey, 1,769 respondents completed the survey—the highest number since Jobson started tracking ECP responses to the pandemic in prior outreach. Nearly 63 percent were optometrists, 31.2 percent were opticians, just over 64 percent of which operated single locations, 21.2 percent with 2 to 3 locations, 5 percent with 4-10 locations, and 9.5 percent with 10 or more locations. Respondents broke out 52.6 percent female and 47.4 percent male.



The rise in the locations of the respondents that have been issued orders to close non-essential businesses ticked up in the 4th survey, versus the third, conducted just 4 days earlier, March 23-24, rising to 94.8 percent from March 28-30 respondents compared to 86.4 percent. Those cities/localities/states issuing stay-at-home advisories rose to 88.5 percent compared to 73 percent. Overall, 67.1 percent of respondents' practices have closed in the March 28-30 wave compared to 59.1 percent in the March 23-24 wave. For the practices surveyed that have laid off any staff, 42 percent have had to let go of all employees, while 31.1 of those surveyed in the March 28-30 said they had to let go or furlough three-quarters of their employees.



 
Given the reduced hours and closings, the majority of 4th wave ECP respondents said they were using phone calls, emails, texts and social media to reach patients.Practices are working to reschedule appointments, with the 4th survey reflecting that 37 percent had been rescheduling for April, about 45 percent for May, and 13 percent for June.

The participation in telehealth, ranging from mobile apps and other tools, continue to gain ground under the circumstances, with 19.8 percent already starting to offer these services, and 30.5 percent saying that they plan to in the near future. ECPs are using telehealth services that are mainly phone-based consultations (79 percent) and video/image consultations (74.3 percent) as of the March 28-30 survey.

The complete results of the 4th Wave ECP Coronavirus Study is posted here, available to download for no charge.

You can check out Vision Monday's prior ECP Coronavirus Study reports on the prior Jobson surveys, as well as all of Vision Monday's previous coronavirus news, ECP resources and reports in VM's Coronavirus Briefing