Social distancing and lockdown measures implemented due to the Covid-19 pandemic forced hospitals across the world to put elective operations on hold to reduce the risk of infection.

Verdict has conducted a poll to assess whether hospitals should resume elective operations that were put on hold during the pandemic.

Elective operations

Analysis of the poll results shows that a majority of 57% of the respondents opined that hospitals should resume elective operations.

While 15% of the respondents voted that hospitals should only resume elective procedures when Covid-19 hospital admissions fall significantly, 9% of the respondents opined that hospitals should decide on when to resume elective operations.

Further, 7% of the respondents voted that elective procedures should resume only when a vaccine becomes available and another 7% voted that they do not know when elective procedures should resume.

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A minority of 3% of the respondents opined that elective operations should only resume when Covid-19 related hospital admissions fall to zero and another 2% of the respondents voted that elective procedures should only resume when domestic Covid-19 related deaths fall to zero.

The analysis is based on 696 responses received from the readers of Verdict network site Medicaldevice Network between 08 July and 07 December 2020.

Elective operations amid Covid-19 pandemic

Many of the operations and procedures although termed as elective, play an important role in improving the health of patients. Since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, elective procedures were put on hold by hospitals across the world to minimise the risk of transmission, preserve personal protective equipment and hospital bed capacity.

The impact of the delayed surgeries and procedures may not become apparent immediately, but studies have revealed that a backlog of up to five million cases may have to cleared in the US alone, according to the American Medical Association (AMA). Delays in procedures may also increase the risk of death among cancer patients due to postponement of routine screenings.

Healthcare systems need to continue performing these procedures, while dealing with the pandemic, adds the AMA. With elective procedures being resumed, the demand for robotic systems that are commonly used in such procedures has surged in the final quarter of 2020, according to GlobalData.