Impact of COVID-19 on gynecologic and obstetrical services at two large health systems

PLoS One. 2022 Jun 16;17(6):e0269852. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0269852. eCollection 2022.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic disrupted medical care in the US, leading to a significant drop in utilization of some types of health services. We sought to quantify how the pandemic influenced obstetrics and gynecology care at two large health care organizations.

Materials and methods: Comparing 2020 to 2019, we quantified changes to obstetrics and gynecology care at two large health care organizations in the United States, Allegheny Health Network (in western Pennsylvania) and Johns Hopkins University (in Maryland). The analysis considered the numbers of surgical encounters, in-person visits, and telemedicine visits. For each system, we quantified temporal changes in surgical volume, in-person and telemedicine visits, and financial impact related to professional fee revenues. We used segmented regression to evaluate longitudinal effects.

Results: At both institutions, the volume of care was similar in the first few months of 2020 compared to 2019 but dropped precipitously in March 2020. From April to June 2020, surgical volumes were 67% of the same period in 2019 at Allegheny Health and 48% of the same period in 2019 at Johns Hopkins. During that same interval, televisits accounted for approximately 21% of all ambulatory care at both institutions. Although surgical and ambulatory volumes recovered in the second half of 2020, annual surgical volumes in 2020 were significantly lower than 2019 at both institutions (p<0.05) and 2020 ambulatory volumes remained significantly lower at Johns Hopkins (p = .0006). Overall, revenues in 2020 were 91% of 2019 revenues for both institutions.

Conclusions: Obstetrical and gynecologic ambulatory visits and gynecologic surgeries were sharply reduced during the COVID-19 pandemic. Although care volumes returned to 2019 levels in late 2020, we observed an overall reduction in the volume of care provided and a 9% reduction in professional revenue for both institutions.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Pandemics
  • Pregnancy
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine*
  • United States / epidemiology

Grants and funding

LT and VH "Allegheny Health Network- Johns Hopkins University Research Discovery Grant Program" The Grant Program had no role in study design, data collection/analysis, decision to publish, preparation of the manuscript