PURPOSE: The use of telemedicine expanded dramatically in March 2020 following the COVID-19 pandemic. We sought to assess oncologist perspectives on telemedicine's present and future roles (both phone and video) for patients with cancer. METHODS: The National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) Electronic Health Record (EHR) Oncology Advisory Group formed a Workgroup to assess the state of oncology telemedicine and created a 20-question survey. NCCN EHR Oncology Advisory Group members e-mailed the survey to providers (surgical, hematology, gynecologic, medical, and radiation oncology physicians and clinicians) at their home institution. RESULTS: Providers (N = 1,038) from 26 institutions responded in Summer 2020. Telemedicine (phone and video) was compared with in-person visits across clinical scenarios (n = 766). For reviewing benign follow-up data, 88% reported video and 80% reported telephone were the same as or better than office visits. For establishing a personal connection with patients, 24% and 7% indicated video and telephone, respectively, were the same as or better than office visits. Ninety-three percent reported adverse outcomes attributable to telemedicine visits never or rarely occurred, whereas 6% indicated they occasionally occurred (n = 801). Respondents (n = 796) estimated 46% of postpandemic visits could be virtual, but challenges included (1) lack of patient access to technology, (2) inadequate clinical workflows to support telemedicine, and (3) insurance coverage uncertainty postpandemic. CONCLUSION: Telemedicine appears effective across a variety of clinical scenarios. Based on provider assessment, a substantial fraction of visits for patients with cancer could be effectively and safely conducted using telemedicine. These findings should influence regulatory and infrastructural decisions regarding telemedicine postpandemic for patients with cancer.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health Policy