Patients with cancer and their clinicians were satisfied with the quality of care provided by telemedicine. These findings from an observational prospective study were published in JCO Oncology Practice.
Houston Methodist Cancer Center shifted from in-person patient visits to 50% telemedicine in March 2020. Patients and physicians were surveyed about their experience.
The 285 patients who declined to participate in telemedicine were older (P <.0001), had lower median annual incomes (P =.0013), were more likely to be on Medicare or Medicaid (P <.0001), and male (P <.0482). Patients declined because they preferred an in-person visit (43.5%) or had difficulties with technology (28.8%).
Among 1477 patients who participated in a telemedicine visit, the majority (92.6%) were satisfied. Patients felt their clinician addressed their concerns (96.8%) with satisfactory quality (96.7%) and adequate privacy (97.1%). Most patients (73.2%) reported they would choose telemedicine in the future.
The clinicians used telemedicine to evaluate existing (91%) and new (87%) patients. The 23 physicians who participated indicated they had concerns about missing clinical findings (52.2%), interacting with their patient (47.8%), medical liability (30.4%), quality of care (26.1%), obtaining adequate information (26%), technology issues (21.7%), and patient satisfaction (13%).
Despite these concerns, 65.2% of clinicians were satisfied with the telemedicine experience. A minority of clinicians (13.1%) were dissatisfied.
This study was limited by the fact that data was collected at a single center with a single telemedicine program. Therefore, these results may not be generalizable.
These data indicated both patients and physicians were satisfied with telemedicine visits for the treatment of cancer.
Disclosure: Multiple authors declared affiliations with industry. Please refer to the original article for a full list of disclosures.
Darcourt JG, Aparicio K, Dorsey PM, et al. Analysis of the implementation of telehealth visits for care of patients with cancer in Houston during the COVID-19 pandemic. JCO Oncol Pract. Published online October 7, 2020. doi:10.1200/OP.20.00572