CCEDRRN Infographic: Patient-reported health outcomes of SARS-CoV-2

In Infographics by Rajan BolaLeave a Comment

Although some COVID-19 survivors report persistent symptoms months after resolution of the acute infection, we do not know much about their long-term physical and psychological health outcomes. We sought to understand which patient factors are associated with poor patient-reported health outcomes to inform the development and prioritization of health interventions to improve the health of COVID-19 survivors.​1​

We used data from 22 CCEDRRN EDs across 5 provinces between March 2020 to July 2021. Patients were interviewed to obtain sociocultural and demographic variables using a contextual, social, and cultural questionnaire, measured COVID-19 severity using the WHO Ordinal Outcome Scale, and assessed quality of life using the Veterans RAND 12-item health survey. COVID-19 vaccination history was also obtained through medical records or during follow-up interviews.

The difference in physical health scores between COVID-19 patients and matched controls was not statistically or clinically significant, thereby suggesting similar physical health outcomes between SARS-CoV-2 positive and test-negative patients. However, we did find that COVID-19 survivors reported suffering from worse psychological health outcomes compared to test-negative patients.

A unique strength of this study was the inclusion of patient partner input. Through collaboration with the CCEDRRN Patient Engagement Committee, we were able to hypothesize reasons for the similarities in physical health outcomes between COVID and non-COVID patients. We determined that these results do not imply that COVID-19 patients never experience poor physical health outcomes. This could only be supported if we compared participants’ reported health to their own baselines, which we did not. Rather, the control group was comprised of a heterogenous mix of patients presenting to emergency departments with non-COVID-19 respiratory complaints. Each had their own potential for complications and disability. Given that our patient sample is comprised of patients from early waves of the pandemic, we believe that non-COVID patients may have been reluctant to seek care at emergency departments. This led to subsequent complications and challenges related to delayed care-seeking. Overall, these perspectives were strongly advocated for by our Patient Engagement Committee, whose input strengthened the interpretation of our study.

This study speaks to the importance of the physical and psychological health outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 patients, as well as how the social determinants of health play an important role in their longitudinal self-reported health status.

  1. 1.
    Bola R, Sutherland J, Murphy RA, et al. Patient-reported health outcomes of SARS-CoV-2–tested patients presenting to emergency departments: a propensity score–matched prospective cohort study. Public Health. Published online February 2023:1-11. doi:10.1016/j.puhe.2022.11.016

Rajan Bola

Rajan Bola is a medical student at the University of British Columbia. Before medicine, Rajan completed his Master of Science in population and public health with a focus on the longitudinal health outcomes of COVID-19 survivors. His academic interests include clinical epidemiology and population health research. He has no conflicts of interest to declare.

Samuel Wilson

Sam is a third-year Emergency Medicine FRCPC resident at The Ottawa Hospital. He is the CanadiEM/CJEM Infographic editor, interested in PoCUS, trauma, knowledge dissemination, and all things chess.

Daniel Ting

Daniel Ting is an Emergency Physician and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of British Columbia, based in Vancouver. He is the Editor-in-Chief of CanadiEM and a Decision Editor at the Canadian Journal of Emergency Medicine. He completed the CanadiEM Digital Scholarship Fellowship in 2017-18. No conflicts of interest (COI).