Objective: To evaluate the financial impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on endodontic clinics in Egypt.
Methods: Two hundred Egyptian endodontists holding a minimum of a master's degree were invited to participate in an online survey in March 2021. Participants accessed the survey link shared on the social media group of the Egyptian Society of Endodontology. Participants read and signed an electronic informed consent before participating in this study. The questionnaire was designed exclusively by the authors. A draft was pilot tested on a sample of 15 endodontic masters' students at The British University in Egypt. Suggestions and comments to improve clarity, content, and validity were incorporated into the revised survey. The questionnaire was divided into five sections; the first section comprised of questions about the participants' demographic details. The second section targeted the current and future financial impact of COVID-19 on practices. The third section included information about the average patient flow and the introduction of teledentistry in clinical practice. The fourth section assessed the effect of COVID-19 on the staff in the dental clinics and the changes made in response to COVID-19. The last section estimated COVID-19 prevalence among endodontists and staff. Categorical data were presented as frequencies (n) and percentages (%) and were analysed using Fisher's exact test. Quantitative data were presented as mean and standard deviation values. P-values were adjusted for multiple comparisons utilising Bonferroni correction.
Results: A total of 141 endodontists participated in the survey. The negative financial impact of COVID-19 was reported by 84.39% of the participants. Seventy-eight endodontists (55.3%) suffered from the increased cost of endodontic materials. Of the endodontist respondents, 90.8% suffered from the increased cost of PPE, 82.3% did not charge their patients more, and only 14.4% planned to charge more. A decrease in the number of referred cases for endodontic treatment has been noticed by 58.9%. About 47.5% noticed increased patient phone calls replacing patient visits. Only 12.8% have dismissed staff because of financial problems.
Conclusion: COVID-19 has negatively affected most endodontists financially and significantly affected their practices' strategies. (EEJ-2021-08-148)