Patients with cancer treated by radiation were satisfied and had high confidence in care delivered through telemedicine. These findings were published in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network.

Patients (N=1077) treated at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center clinics were assessed for satisfaction of clinical care by questionnaire. Patients were stratified by prepandemic (December 2019 to February 2020) and intrapandemic (April 2020 to June 2020) visits to compare in-person (n=726) vs telemedicine (n=351) appointments.

Those treated by telemedicine were similar in age (median, 65 years; P =.05), male (57%; P =.001), and most were married or partnered compared with patients treated in-person.

Patients treated in-person and by telemedicine stated maximum satisfaction for experience vs expectation (84% vs 82%), quality of physician explanations (84% vs 91%), physician concern (93% vs 92%), physician friendliness (94% vs 95%), and likelihood of recommending physician to others (92% vs 93%), respectively.


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Among telemedicine patients, 45% expressed a preference for telemedicine over office visits, 34% preferred office visits, and 21% did not have a preference. According to patient perception, telemedicine was either better or equal to in-person visits with regard to sharing personal information (91%), confidence in physician (90%), understanding treatment plans (88%), confidence in appropriate treatment (87%), and personal connection with the physician (60%).

This study may have been limited by its short-term design or by unknown alterations to patient perceptions of adequate care as a result of the pandemic.

These findings suggested patients treated with radiation for cancer were satisfied with telemedicine for routine appointments with their oncologists, maintaining confidence in their care during the pandemic of 2020.

Reference

Shaverdian N, Gillespie EF, Cha E, et al. Impact of telemedicine on patient satisfaction and perceptions of care quality in radiation oncology. J Natl Compr Canc Netw. 2021;1-7. doi:10.6004/jnccn.2020.7687