The study assessed the impact of a rurally focused telemedicine program on patient outcomes in the urologic oncology outpatient clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center.
Findings from a study presented at the Society of Urologic Oncology 21st Annual Meeting revealed the impact of a rurally focused telemedicine program on patient outcomes in the urologic oncology outpatient clinic at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC).
The investigators ultimately discovered that telemedicine provides a medium for cancer care delivery that eliminates the significant travel burden associated with in-person clinic appointments.
In an interview with CancerNetwork®, Adam J. Gadzinski, MD, MS, urologic oncology fellow and an acting instructor of Urologic Oncology at the Urology Clinic at UWMC, explained the implications of these study results.
I think for us, what we really took out of this was that patients were spending a lot just to come and see us in clinic. And that telemedicine, in terms of at least the outcomes of patient satisfaction, really was equivalent to in person visits. We had very complex discussions about very challenging cancer issues and decisions that patients had to make. And I think we found that having those discussions over telemedicine was pretty darn similar to in person visits.
And for certain parts of urologic cancer care, physical exam is not always the kind of hinge point of a decision and so you don't have to examine someone when you have their CT scan that you can review with them. You know, maybe they don't need to drive from eastern Washington 5 hours for you to, to you know, lay your hands on their abdomen and then look at the CT scan with them and make all of your cancer treatment decisions based on the CT scan.
There are some patients you do have to kind of see them in person and examine them in person before you decide on treatment decisions. And sometimes what we found is the telemedicine really streamlined their in person visit when they did come, so then when they come they're also getting, you know, a repeat CT scan, they’re getting labs, and so their trip to Washington, to Seattle, was more of a implementing a plan and less kind of discovering what that plan might be.