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Adv Radiat Oncol ; 7(6): 101032, 2022.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1956050


Purpose: Recent clinical trials suggest hypofractionated treatment regimens are appropriate for treatment of many cancers. It is important to understand and document hypofractionation adoption because of its implications for treatment center patient volumes. There is no recent U.S. study of trends in hypofractionation adoption that includes comparisons of multiple disease sites and data since the onset of COVID-19. In this context, this study describes trends in treatment fractionation at a single academic center from 2010 to 2020. Methods and Materials: From an institutional database, records were extracted for treatment of 4 disease site categories: all cancers, breast cancer, prostate cancer, and bone metastases. For each disease site, the mean number of fractions per treatment course was reported for each year of the study period. To explore whether the COVID-19 pandemic was associated with increased hypofractionation adoption, piecewise linear regression models were used to estimate a changepoint in the time trend of mean monthly number of fractions per treatment course and to evaluate whether this changepoint coincided with pandemic onset. Results: The data set included 22,865 courses of radiation treatment and 375,446 treatment fractions. The mean number of fractions per treatment course for all cancers declined from 17.5 in 2010 to 13.6 in 2020. There was increased adoption of hypofractionation at this institution for all cancers and specifically for both breast and prostate cancer. For bone metastases, hypofractionation had largely been adopted before the study period. For most disease sites, adoption of hypofractionated treatment courses occurred before pandemic onset. Bone metastases was the only disease site where a pandemic-driven increase in hypofractionation adoption could not be ruled out. Conclusions: This study reveals increasing use of hypofractionated regimens for a variety of cancers throughout the study period, which largely occurred before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic at this institution.

West J Emerg Med ; 22(5): 1037-1044, 2021 Aug 21.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1635021


INTRODUCTION: Emergency departments (ED) globally are addressing the coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic with varying degrees of success. We leveraged the 17-country, Emergency Medicine Education & Research by Global Experts (EMERGE) network and non-EMERGE ED contacts to understand ED emergency preparedness and practices globally when combating the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: We electronically surveyed EMERGE and non-EMERGE EDs from April 3-June 1, 2020 on ED capacity, pandemic preparedness plans, triage methods, staffing, supplies, and communication practices. The survey was available in English, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish to optimize participation. We analyzed survey responses using descriptive statistics. RESULTS: 74/129 (57%) EDs from 28 countries in all six World Health Organization global regions responded. Most EDs were in Asia (49%), followed by North America (28%), and Europe (14%). Nearly all EDs (97%) developed and implemented protocols for screening, testing, and treating patients with suspected COVID-19 infections. Sixty percent responded that provider staffing/back-up plans were ineffective. Many sites (47/74, 64%) reported staff missing work due to possible illness with the highest provider proportion of COVID-19 exposures and infections among nurses. CONCLUSION: Despite having disaster plans in place, ED pandemic preparedness and response continue to be a challenge. Global emergency research networks are vital for generating and disseminating large-scale event data, which is particularly important during a pandemic.

COVID-19 , Emergency Service, Hospital/organization & administration , Pandemics , Triage , Cross-Sectional Studies , Global Health , Humans , SARS-CoV-2
J Med Internet Res ; 23(11): e28105, 2021 11 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1496823


BACKGROUND: During the initial months of the COVID-19 pandemic, rapidly rising disease prevalence in the United States created a demand for patient-facing information exchanges that addressed questions and concerns about the disease. One approach to managing increased patient volumes during a pandemic involves the implementation of telephone-based triage systems. During a pandemic, telephone triage hotlines can be employed in innovative ways to conserve medical resources and offer useful population-level data about disease symptomatology and risk factor profiles. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this study is to describe and evaluate the COVID-19 telephone triage hotline used by a large academic medical center in the midwestern United States. METHODS: Michigan Medicine established a telephone hotline to triage inbound patient calls related to COVID-19. For calls received between March 24, 2020, and May 5, 2020, we described total call volume, data reported by callers including COVID-19 risk factors and symptomatology, and distribution of callers to triage algorithm endpoints. We also described symptomatology reported by callers who were directed to the institutional patient portal (online medical visit questionnaire). RESULTS: A total of 3929 calls (average 91 calls per day) were received by the call center during the study period. The maximum total number of daily calls peaked at 211 on March 24, 2020. Call volumes were the highest from 6 AM to 11 AM and during evening hours. Callers were most often directed to the online patient portal (1654/3929, 42%), nursing hotlines (1338/3929, 34%), or employee health services (709/3929, 18%). Cough (126/370 of callers, 34%), shortness of breath (101/370, 27%), upper respiratory infection (28/111, 25%), and fever (89/370, 24%) were the most commonly reported symptoms. Immunocompromised state (23/370, 6%) and age >65 years (18/370, 5%) were the most commonly reported risk factors. CONCLUSIONS: The triage algorithm successfully diverted low-risk patients to suitable algorithm endpoints, while directing high-risk patients onward for immediate assessment. Data collected from hotline calls also enhanced knowledge of symptoms and risk factors that typified community members, demonstrating that pandemic hotlines can aid in the clinical characterization of novel diseases.

COVID-19 , Hotlines , Aged , Hotlines/statistics & numerical data , Humans , Longitudinal Studies , Pandemics , Telephone , Triage , United States