An expert in urologic oncology seeks to answer further questions regarding the use of telemedicine for this patient population.
In a study presented at the Society of Urologic Oncology 21st Annual Meeting, investigators revealed that telemedicine provides a medium for cancer care delivery that eliminates the significant travel burden associated with in-person clinic appointments.
However, the findings also revealed further questions which need to be determined with more research.
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 the University of Washington Medical Center, discussed the next steps that he and his colleagues have planned for telemedicine research.
For this immediate visit, what [needs to be determined is] were you satisfied? How much did you spend on travel or how much didn’t you spend on travel? The next question for us is, are we really delivering the highest level of cancer care via telemedicine versus in person?
I think one thing we’ll go back and look at is…did patients receive guidelines-coordinate care? Was it better or worse for [patients receiving] telemedicine or in person visits? And then [for] overall treatment, do they tend to actually come and get their definitive treatment with us or were the telemedicine visits more of a [strategy] to get the University of Washington opinion and then they stay with their local provider, which is totally fine. We just don’t know if it is happening more or less with telemedicine versus in-person visits.
The other step along with the phone call [is determining] …who’s not getting care via telemedicine? We know there’s going to be a certain population in America that just doesn’t feel comfortable enough with the technology [and] doesn’t have broadband access to use it. You don’t want to say we’re reaching more people, but then you’re systematically excluding the people who probably were already disenfranchised to begin with. The goal with telemedicine is to get it to more people and not disenfranchise people worse, but there may be some people that are left behind by the zoom encounter just because they don’t [know how to use] zoom well or don’t want to use it.