Investigating Post COVID-19 Condition in Ontarians and marginalized communities

Andrea Gershon, Temerty Faculty of Medicine; Peter Austin, Dalla Lana School of Public Health; Candace McNaughton; Temerty Faculty of Medicine; Clare Atzema, Temerty Faculty of Medicine

Background: Many individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 experience symptoms that last for an extended period of time. These extended symptoms are frequently referred to as Long-COVID, officially known as Post COVID-19 Condition (PCC). PCC is a complex disease that requires the involvement of multiple medical specialties to be properly managed and is placing a substantial burden on provincial healthcare systems. Ontario has developed a new healthcare billing code to specifically identify PCC.

Objectives: The objectives of this study are to understand 1) which doctors are using the PCC billing code 2) how many individuals are being diagnosed with PCC in Ontario and if these people belong to disadvantaged groups 3) how much and what types of healthcare people with PCC are using.

Methods and Outcomes: Ontario health administrative data includes information on almost all health care services that are used by virtually all people living in the province of Ontario. This information will be used to identify the number of people in Ontario who have been diagnosed with PCC and to investigate the types of healthcare that individuals with PCC use before and after they have been diagnosed with PCC. For example, types of specialists visited, emergency room visits, and hospital admissions.

Relevance to Pandemic Recovery: PCC is a serious and ongoing problem that places a substantial burden on the healthcare system. This project will help us understand which communities are being most affected by PCC and how we can allocate resources to help more Canadians with PCC.