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BMC Cancer ; 21(1): 1094, 2021 Oct 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1463236


BACKGROUND: To ensure safe delivery of oncologic care during the COVID-19 pandemic, telemedicine has been rapidly adopted. However, little data exist on the impact of telemedicine on quality and accessibility of oncologic care. This study assessed whether conducting an office visit for thoracic oncology patients via telemedicine affected time to treatment initiation and accessibility. METHODS: This was a retrospective cohort study of patients with thoracic malignancies seen by a multidisciplinary team during the first surge of COVID-19 cases in Philadelphia (March 1 to June 30, 2020). Patients with an index visit for a new phase of care, defined as a new diagnosis, local recurrence, or newly discovered metastatic disease, were included. RESULTS: 240 distinct patients with thoracic malignancies were seen: 132 patients (55.0%) were seen initially in-person vs 108 (45.0%) via telemedicine. The majority of visits were for a diagnosis of a new thoracic cancer (87.5%). Among newly diagnosed patients referred to the thoracic oncology team, the median time from referral to initial visit was significantly shorter amongst the patients seen via telemedicine vs. in-person (median 5.0 vs. 6.5 days, p < 0.001). Patients received surgery (32.5%), radiation (24.2%), or systemic therapy (30.4%). Time from initial visit to treatment initiation by modality did not differ by telemedicine vs in-person: surgery (22 vs 16 days, p = 0.47), radiation (27.5 vs 27.5 days, p = 0.86, systemic therapy (15 vs 13 days, p = 0.45). CONCLUSIONS: Rapid adoption of telemedicine allowed timely delivery of oncologic care during the initial surge of the COVID19 pandemic by a thoracic oncology multi-disciplinary clinic.

COVID-19/epidemiology , Health Services Accessibility , Pandemics , Telemedicine/organization & administration , Thoracic Neoplasms/therapy , Time-to-Treatment , Aged , Female , Humans , Male , Middle Aged , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local , Patient Care Team , Philadelphia/epidemiology , Quality of Health Care , Referral and Consultation , Retrospective Studies , Telemedicine/standards , Telemedicine/statistics & numerical data , Thoracic Neoplasms/epidemiology , Thoracic Neoplasms/pathology , Time Factors
Head Neck ; 42(7): 1507-1515, 2020 Jul.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-614117


INTRODUCTION: The COVID-19 pandemic caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus-2 (SARS-CoV-2) virus has altered the health care environment for the management of head and neck cancers. The purpose of these guidelines is to provide direction during the pandemic for rational Head and Neck Cancer management in order to achieve a medically and ethically appropriate balance of risks and benefits. METHODS: Creation of consensus document. RESULTS: The process yielded a consensus statement among a wide range of practitioners involved in the management of patients with head and neck cancer in a multihospital tertiary care health system. CONCLUSIONS: These guidelines support an ethical approach for the management of head and neck cancers during the COVID-19 epidemic consistent with both the local standard of care as well as the head and neck oncological literature.

Betacoronavirus , Coronavirus Infections/prevention & control , Head and Neck Neoplasms/therapy , Infection Control/standards , Medical Oncology/standards , Pandemics/prevention & control , Pneumonia, Viral/prevention & control , Ambulatory Care/standards , COVID-19 , Combined Modality Therapy , Continuity of Patient Care/standards , Coronavirus Infections/diagnosis , Head and Neck Neoplasms/diagnosis , Humans , Multi-Institutional Systems , Otorhinolaryngologic Surgical Procedures/standards , Palliative Care/standards , Patient Safety , Pennsylvania , Personal Protective Equipment , Pneumonia, Viral/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Terminal Care/standards , Tertiary Care Centers
JCO Oncol Pract ; 16(9): 579-586, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-378256


Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has had a devastating impact around the world. With high rates of transmission and no curative therapies or vaccine yet available, the current cornerstone of management focuses on prevention by social distancing. This includes decreased health care contact for patients. Patients with lung cancer are a particularly vulnerable population, where the risk of mortality from cancer must now be balanced by the potential risk of a life-threatening infection. In these unprecedented times, a collaborative and multidisciplinary approach is required to streamline but not compromise care. We have developed guidelines at our academic cancer center to standardize management of patients with lung cancer across our health care system and provide guidance to the larger oncology community. We recommend that general principles of lung cancer treatment continue to be followed in most cases where delays could result in rapid cancer progression. We recognize that our recommendations may change over time based on clinical resources and the evolving nature of the COVID-19 pandemic. In principle, however, treatment paradigms must continue to be individualized, with careful consideration of risks and benefits of continuing or altering lung cancer-directed therapy.

Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Lung Neoplasms/therapy , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Delivery of Health Care/trends , Disease Management , Humans , Infection Control/methods , Lung Neoplasms/complications , Lung Neoplasms/epidemiology , Lung Neoplasms/virology , Medical Oncology/methods , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2