How Has Health Care Utilization Changed Since the Pandemic?

Early in the COVID-19 pandemic, many outpatient visits and elective hospitalizations were delayed, avoided, or cancelled, leading to a sharp decline in health care utilization. However, there have been expectations that there will be pent-up demand for this missed care.

Using a variety of data sources, this chart collection examines the latest available data on how health services utilization has changed over the course of the pandemic. We find that, as of mid-to-late 2022, utilization of healthcare is generally rebounding, but some of that use is likely for COVID-related treatment, testing, or vaccination, making it difficult to assess how non-COVID care compares to the amount of care people received pre-pandemic. It is likely that utilization of some services, particularly for non-COVID care, remains below expectations based on pre-pandemic trends.

The chart collection is available on the Peterson-KFF Health System Tracker, an online information hub dedicated to monitoring and assessing the performance of the U.S. health system.

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