The effect of the Covid-19 shutdown on glycemic testing and control
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BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic caused a halt to in-person ambulatory care. We evaluated how the reduction in access to care affected HbA1c testing and patient HbA1c levels. METHODS: HbA1c data from 11 institutions were extracted to compare testing volume and the percentage of abnormal results between a pre-pandemic period (January-June 2019, period 1) and a portion of the COVID-19 pandemic period (Jan-June 2020, period 2). HbA1c results greater than 6.4% were categorized as abnormal. RESULTS: HbA1C testing volumes decreased in March, April and May by 23, 61 and 40% relative to the corresponding months in 2019. The percentage of abnormal results increased in April, May and June (25, 23, 9%). On average, we found that the frequency of abnormal results increased by 0.31% for every 1% decrease in testing volume (p < 0.0005). CONCLUSION: HbA1c testing volume for outpatients decreased by up to 70% during the early months of the pandemic. The decrease in testing was associated with an increase in abnormal HbA1c results.
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