A groundbreaking white paper released today by Icario, a Minneapolis-based next gen technology company, maintains that the COVID-19 pandemic has dealt catastrophic effects on human health far beyond the disease itself and should be tracked independently. The author, Sara Ratner, Icario Medicaid Advisory Council Member, writes that “educational gaps, mental health issues, layoffs, loss of healthcare coverage and delayed healthcare utilization will have a sustained and perpetual impact on preventing and managing diseases ultimately contributing to an increase in chronic conditions, magnifying comorbidities, a spiked death rate and persistent healthcare cost increases and spending.”

Ratner leads an initiative within Icario that is tracking the full health impact and magnitude of the pandemic. The initiative is referred to as COVID-19 Determinants of Health (CDoH). “Icario recently launched our CDoH tracking effort because COVID-19 has become the single most dominant factor affecting human health in our era,” Ratner said. “The statistics, insights and mass data on human behavior are being assessed by Icario’s team of data and health scientists to develop new approaches designed to limit the long-term impact on people, systems, insurers and governments.”

Icario recently commissioned The Harris Poll to conduct several independent surveys to discern if people were delaying or foregoing care. “The white paper notes survey data showing dramatic declines in vaccinations, preventive screenings for cancers, cholesterol, and diabetes that began at the outset of pandemic restrictions have continued well into the late summer months.” Ratner said.

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“The numbers are clear,” Ratner continued. “Patients are not rescheduling cancelled or delayed vaccinations or preventive screenings. The implications of delays in diagnosis and preventive care will trigger dramatic increases in chronic disease, preventable deaths and cost due to delayed care. The single most important thing the healthcare industry can do to address this catastrophic trend is reaching out to people who have foregone care due to fear of COVID-19.”

Icario is driving relevant data through a series of proprietary systems that leverage advanced analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to create its CDoH insights. The insights drive educational approaches that include personalized messaging to help health plans address judgements, assumptions and perceptions that impact the actions of patients and members.

“Our single goal is to help the healthcare industry effectively reach vulnerable and at-risk populations so they can act to improve their health and limit the damage that delayed care is having on their lives and across the greater population.”


Sara Ratner

Icario Medicaid Advisory Council Member

The Icario white paper recommends several strategies for the healthcare industry to bend the curve of the impact of COVID-19, including:

  • Using personalized messaging with patients and members to create a strong desire to act
  • Messaging that helps reduce emotional and behavioral barriers preventing patient or member action, especially fear
  • Educating on removing logistical barriers preventing patients or members from taking health actions

“The pandemic has fundamentally changed healthcare beliefs and access among patients and members,” Ratner said. “At Icario, we have launched the CDoH initiative to unlock insights building components of education and personalized messaging that helps eliminate barriers that are compromising the health and welfare of the population.”

The surveys were conducted online within the United States by The Harris Poll on behalf of Icario. Wave 1 fielded April 13-15, 2020 among 2,032 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, Wave 2 fielded from May 5-7, 2020 among 2,051 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, Wave 3 fielded from May 27-29, 2020 among 2,019 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 686 are parents of children under age 18, Wave 4 fielded from July 7-9, 2020 among 2,022 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 748 are parents of children under age 18, and Wave 5 fielded from August 25-27, 2020 among 2,067 U.S. adults ages 18 and older, among whom 792 are parents of children under age 18. These online surveys are not based on a probability sample and therefore no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. For complete survey methodologies, including weighting variables and subgroup sample sizes, please contact Sandi Scott at sscott@tunheim.com.