Medical Technology

COVID-19 is certainly a good thing But What else Will We Remember 2021 For?

According to 84% of the 987 respondents to a recent Medscape Medical Newspoll, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic was most significant medical news or event in 2021. There’s no reason to be surprised.

The new law that requires patients to have electronic access to their medical notes was second, with 26 percent. The controversial FDA approval of aducanumab (Aduhelm Biogen/Eisai) to treat Alzheimer’s disease was the next item, mentioned by more than 16% of those asked what they would remember most about 2021.

The results of the test that were 10 or less was the permanent end to the Step 2 Clinical Skills test as well as the JAMA deputy editor resignation over controversial comments, and an “other” option that allowed write-in responses.

It should be noted respondents may choose between three or more answers to this and other questions in this survey, with the exception of for questions regarding professions and specialization.

Exciting News in 2021

The widespread availability of COVID-19 vaccines was the top response — chosen by 85% when asked what medical news or developments excited them in 2021.

FDA cleared a 5-minute test for early cognitive impairment. 22%, followed by nearly 16% who announced approval in the month of October 2021 for abemaciclib (Verzenio Lilly), “described as the most significant breakthrough for early breast cancer in 20 Years.”

The JAMA editors resigned due to a podcast on race. This rounded out the top ten list of medical news or events, ranking fourth place with 11%. When asked what news or events they were most excited about in 2021, 5% readers selected “other”.

A Year of Frustration?

Medscape also asked readers to select the medical news and events that they were most disappointed with in 2021. A majorityof respondents, 81%, chose COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy or refusal. Almost one third, 31%, chose the effect of climate change on health worldwide.

Readers also ranked some of the most memorable news and events of 2021 as frustrating. 22% were dissatisfied with the law that required patients to have access to their medical notes. 19% of respondents cited the June approval of aducanumab. Another 12% opted for the JAMA resignations.

A Shocking Survey Question

When asked which medical news or incident shocked readers in 2021, COVID-19 vaccination refusal or hesitation was the most frequent answer with 69%..

The US Preventive Services Task Force disqualifying aspirin for people over 60 for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease shocked 36% of the respondents.

The top two spots on the survey were two JAMA editors who resigned after a podcast about race selected by 19%, and the death of the Step 2 Clinical Skills test, selected by 18%.

Surprisingly 96% of respondents were doctors. The remaining 1% were physician assistants, residents, or nurses. Respondents also represented a wide variety of specialties. There were 29 different specialties that could be considered. The most common included family medicine, internal medicine and psychiatry.

For more details on the year 2021 was, see the Medscape Year in Medicine 2021: News That Made an Impact slideshow. Read Medscape’s full Year in Medicine report.

What was the most memorable for our readers in 2020? This story is about the results from the same survey that was conducted a year ago.

Staff journalist Damian McNamara resides in Miami. He covers a variety of medical specialties, including infectious diseases, gastroenterology and critical care. Follow Damian on Twitter @MedReporter.

For more updates follow Medscape on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube.

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