Table 2

Physician visits and medication prescriptions among patients with major chronic diseases before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

OutcomeSeptember
2019
October
2019
November
2019
December
2019
January
2020
February
2020
March
2020
April
2020
May
2020
The number of physician visits, mean (95% CI)
 Patients in the whole nation1.9 (1.8 to 1.9)2.0 (1.9 to 2.0)2.0 (1.9 to 2.0)2.0 (1.9 to 2.0)1.9 (1.9 to 2.0)1.9 (1.8 to 2.0)1.9 (1.9 to 2.0)1.7 (1.6 to 1.7)1.8 (1.8 to 1.9)
 Patients in the prefectures most affected by COVID-191.9 (1.8 to 1.9)2.0 (1.9 to 2.1)2.0 (1.9 to 2.1)2.0 (2.0 to 2.1)1.9 (1.9 to 2.0)1.9 (1.9 to 2.0)2.0 (1.9 to 2.1)1.7 (1.6 to 1.8)1.9 (1.8 to 1.9)
 Patients in the other prefectures1.7 (1.6 to 1.8)1.8 (1.7 to 1.9)1.8 (1.7 to 1.9)1.8 (1.7 to 1.9)1.7 (1.6 to 1.8)1.8 (1.6 to 1.9)1.7 (1.6 to 1.8)1.6 (1.5 to 1.7)1.6 (1.5 to 1.7)
The proportion of patients who did not visit any physicians (%) (95% CI)
 Patients in the whole nation18 (17 to 19)16 (16 to 17)15 (14 to 16)16 (15 to 16)16 (16 to 17)18 (17 to 19)15 (15 to 16)24 (23 to 25)9 (8 to 10)
 Patients in the prefectures most affected by COVID-1918 (17 to 19)16 (15 to 17)14 (14 to 15)15 (15 to 16)16 (15 to 17)18 (17 to 19)14 (14 to 15)25 (24 to 26)7 (7 to 8)
 Patients in the other prefectures20 (18 to 22)17 (15 to 19)17 (15 to 19)17 (15 to 18)19 (17 to 20)19 (17 to 20)18 (17 to 20)22 (20 to 24)15 (13 to 16)
The proportion of days covered by prescribed medication (PDC) (%), mean (95% CI)
 Patients in the whole nation86 (86 to 87)87 (87 to 88)87 (87 to 88)89 (89 to 90)85 (85 to 86)87 (86 to 87)87 (86 to 87)87 (87 to 88)85 (85 to 86)
 Patients in the prefectures most affected by COVID-1986 (86 to 87)87 (86 to 87)87 (87 to 88)89 (89 to 90)85 (85 to 86)87 (86 to 87)87 (86 to 87)87 (86 to 88)85 (84 to 85)
 Patients in the other prefectures88 (87 to 89)88 (87 to 89)88 (87 to 89)90 (89 to 91)87 (86 to 88)88 (87 to 89)88 (87 to 89)89 (88 to 90)86 (85 to 87)
  • We showed the changes in physician visits and medication prescriptions among patients who visited physicians and received prescriptions for major chronic diseases at least once from September 2019 to February 2020. We calculated each value from September 2019 to February 2020 based on data on patients who visited physicians and received prescriptions for major chronic diseases at least once, both from March 2018 to the previous month, and from September 2019 to February 2020. For calculating each outcome from March 2020 to May 2020, we used data on those who visited physicians and received prescriptions for major chronic diseases at least once from September 2019 to February 2020. The prefectures most affected by COVID-19 were defined as the seven prefectures (Tokyo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Chiba, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka) where the state of emergency over COVID-19 was declared on 7 April 2020.

  • PDC, proportion of days covered by prescribed medication.