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

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
2.
J Surg Res ; 268: 459-464, 2021 Jul 24.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1366623

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: We tracked endocrine surgery patients with treatment delays due to COVID-19 to investigate the relationship between physician assigned priority scoring (PAPS), the Medically Necessary, Time Sensitive (MeNTS) scoring system and delay to surgery. MATERIAL & METHODS: Patients scheduled for endocrine surgery or clinically evaluated during COVID-19-related elective surgery hold at our institution (2/26/20-5/1/20) were prospectively enrolled. PAPS was assigned based on categories of high, moderate, or low risk, consistent with the American College of Surgeons' priority system. MeNTS scores were calculated. The primary outcome was delay to surgery. Descriptive statistics were performed, and receiver operator characteristic (ROC) curves and area under the curve (AUC) values were calculated for PAPS and MeNTS. RESULTS: Of 146 patients included, 68% (n = 100) were female; the median age was 60 years (IQR:43,67). Mean delay to surgery was significantly shorter (P = 0.01) in patients with high PAPS (35 d), compared with moderate (61 d) and low (79 d) PAPS groups. MeNTS scores were provided for 105 patients and were analyzed by diagnosis. Patients with benign thyroid disease (n = 17) had a significantly higher MeNTS score than patients with thyroid disease which was malignant/suspicious for malignancy (n = 44) patients (51.5 versus 47.6, P = 0.034). Higher PAPS correlated well with a delay to surgery of <30 d (AUC: 0.72). MeNTS score did not correlate well with delay to surgery <30 d (AUC: 0.52). CONCLUSION: PAPS better predicted delay to surgery than MeNTS scores. PAPS may incorporate more complex components of clinical decision-making which are not captured in the MeNTS score.

3.
Methods Inf Med ; 60(1-02): 32-48, 2021 May.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1331415

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The electronic health record (EHR) has become increasingly ubiquitous. At the same time, health professionals have been turning to this resource for access to data that is needed for the delivery of health care and for clinical research. There is little doubt that the EHR has made both of these functions easier than earlier days when we relied on paper-based clinical records. Coupled with modern database and data warehouse systems, high-speed networks, and the ability to share clinical data with others are large number of challenges that arguably limit the optimal use of the EHR OBJECTIVES: Our goal was to provide an exhaustive reference for those who use the EHR in clinical and research contexts, but also for health information systems professionals as they design, implement, and maintain EHR systems. METHODS: This study includes a panel of 24 biomedical informatics researchers, information technology professionals, and clinicians, all of whom have extensive experience in design, implementation, and maintenance of EHR systems, or in using the EHR as clinicians or researchers. All members of the panel are affiliated with Penn Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and have experience with a variety of different EHR platforms and systems and how they have evolved over time. RESULTS: Each of the authors has shared their knowledge and experience in using the EHR in a suite of 20 short essays, each representing a specific challenge and classified according to a functional hierarchy of interlocking facets such as usability and usefulness, data quality, standards, governance, data integration, clinical care, and clinical research. CONCLUSION: We provide here a set of perspectives on the challenges posed by the EHR to clinical and research users.


Subject(s)
Electronic Health Records , Health Information Systems , Delivery of Health Care , Health Personnel , Humans
4.
Cancer Rep (Hoboken) ; : e1427, 2021 Jun 17.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1274682

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND AND AIM: This study quantifies how changes in healthcare utilization and delivery during the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic have altered the presentation, treatment, and management of patients with gastrointestinal (GI) malignancies within an academic health system. METHODS AND RESULTS: Patients diagnosed with a GI malignancy (ICD10: C15-C26) who received medical care within the health system during the observation period (first 44 weeks of 2019 and 2020) were identified for a retrospective cohort study. Deidentified patient encounter parameters were collected for this observation period and separated into pre-pandemic (weeks 1-10) and early pandemic (weeks 11-20) study periods. Difference-in-difference analyses adjusted for week-specific and year-specific effects quantified the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on care delivery between pre-pandemic and early pandemic study periods in 2020. Across all GI malignancies, the COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with a significant decline in the number of patients with new patient visits (NPVs) (p = 1.2 × 10-4 ), Radiology encounters (p = 1.9 × 10-7 ), Surgery encounters (p = 1.6 × 10-3 ), Radiation Oncology encounters (p = 4.1 × 10-3 ), and infusion visits (6.1 × 10-5 ). Subgroup analyses revealed cancer-specific variations in changes to delivery. Patients with colorectal cancer (CRC) had the most significant decrease in NPVs (p = 7.1 × 10-5 ), which was significantly associated with a concomitant decrease in colonoscopies performed during the early pandemic period (r2  = 0.722, p = 2.1 × 10-10 ). CONCLUSIONS: The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with significant disruptions to care delivery. While these effects were appreciated broadly across GI malignancies, CRC, diagnosed and managed by periodic screening, has been affected most acutely.

5.
JCO Oncol Pract ; : OP2100113, 2021 Jun 16.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1270943

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Multiple studies have demonstrated the negative impact of cancer care delays during the COVID-19 pandemic, and transmission mitigation techniques are imperative for continued cancer care delivery. We aimed to gauge the effectiveness of these measures at the University of Pennsylvania. METHODS: We conducted a longitudinal study of SARS-CoV-2 antibody seropositivity and seroconversion in patients presenting to infusion centers for cancer-directed therapy between May 21, 2020, and October 8, 2020. Participants completed questionnaires and had up to five serial blood collections. RESULTS: Of 124 enrolled patients, only two (1.6%) had detectable SARS-CoV-2 antibodies on initial blood draw, and no initially seronegative patients developed newly detectable antibodies on subsequent blood draw(s), corresponding to a seroconversion rate of 0% (95% CI, 0.0 TO 4.1%) over 14.8 person-years of follow up, with a median of 13 health care visits per patient. CONCLUSION: These results suggest that patients with cancer receiving in-person care at a facility with aggressive mitigation efforts have an extremely low likelihood of COVID-19 infection.

6.
JNCI Cancer Spectr ; 5(1): pkaa120, 2021 Feb.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1069274

ABSTRACT

Cancer patients are a vulnerable population postulated to be at higher risk for severe coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) infection. Increased COVID-19 morbidity and mortality in cancer patients may be attributable to age, comorbidities, smoking, health care exposure, and cancer treatments, and partially to the cancer itself. Most studies to date have focused on hospitalized patients with severe COVID-19, thereby limiting the generalizability and interpretability of the association between cancer and COVID-19 severity. We compared outcomes of SARS-CoV-2 infection in 323 patients enrolled in a population-based study before the pandemic (n = 67 cancer patients; n = 256 noncancer patients). After adjusting for demographics, smoking status, and comorbidities, a diagnosis of cancer was independently associated with higher odds of hospitalization (odds ratio = 2.16, 95% confidence interval = 1.12 to 4.18) and 30-day mortality (odds ratio = 5.67, 95% confidence interval = 1.49 to 21.59). These associations were primarily driven by patients with active cancer. These results emphasize the critical importance of preventing SARS-CoV-2 exposure and mitigating infection in cancer patients.

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