Healthcare How are US hospital volumes and capex responding to COVID-19?

UBS Evidence Lab carries out a monthly survey of 40 US hospital CEOs and CFOs on COVID-19-related issues. The latest wave was fielded on June 1-9.

26 Jun 2020
  • Hospital executives said they expect June to see a smaller year-on-year decline in patient volumes than April and May. In particular, they anticipate a significant recovery in elective procedures and total surgical procedures.
  • In May, surgery delays fell relative to the previous two months for all major categories, especially orthopedic procedures (hips/knees).
  • Declines in surgery volume and uncertainty have led hospitals to delay capital expenditures, particularly in robotic surgery, radiology, and IT.
  • More hospitals reported IT capex delays in May (55%) than in April (35%); there were also more delays for robotic surgery in May (57%) than in April (48%).
  • Mammography, however, saw fewer delays: down from 40% in April to 23% in May.
  • The majority of hospitals expect capex to resume in 2021.
  • The monthly increase in COVID-19-related lab testing slowed in May relative to April. Non-COVID-19 lab testing is recovering.
  • Hospital admittance data for April shows declines similar to those reported by the executives in particular, both sources show that surgery volumes declined 67%.

US Hospitals' Mean Y/Y Change in Patient Volumes

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Surgeries Being Delayed the Most

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Share of Hospitals Delaying/Accelerating Capex (Based on June 1-9 Survey)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

When Hospitals Expect Capex to Resume

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Daily Volume of COVID-19-Related Lab Testing (Change vs. Previous Month)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

Daily Volume of Non-COVID-19-Related Lab Testing (Y/Y Change)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab

US Hospitals' Y/Y Change in Patient Volumes (Based on Colorado Hospital Association’s Databank Program)

Source: UBS Evidence Lab, Colorado Hospital Association's Databank Program