July 15th 2020
Telemedicine (TM) will play an increasingly significant role in practices that diagnose cancers and treat patients. Although only a small percentage of oncologists currently use TM, many more will embrace this technology in the near future. Although TM has been available for several decades, it was the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic that highlighted how useful the concept was for connecting and communicating not only with patients who live a significant distance away from their oncologist’s brick-and-mortar office, but with those who are homebound, for whatever reason. For instance, patients who have tested positive for coronavirus but who are not significantly symptomatic can be safely treated while they remain at home. One
barrier to the widespread implementation of TM was lack of compensation for the time spent communicating with patients using audio-visual technology. As of March 2020, however, CMS has mandated that TM virtual visits and face-to-face visits have financial parity. This article will explore the process of implementing TM into an oncology practice with minimal time, energy, effort, and expense, as well as the concepts and the trends behind using TM to provide care for patients with cancer.