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Proceedings of Singapore Healthcare ; 31(no pagination), 2022.
Article in English | EMBASE | ID: covidwho-2228883


Introduction: Workload in oncology during a pandemic is expected to increase as manpower is shunted to other areas of need in combating the pandemic. This increased workload, coupled with the high care needs of cancer patients, can have negative effects on both healthcare providers and their patients. Method(s): This study aims to quantify the workload of medical oncologists compared to internal medicine physicians and general surgeons during the current COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the previous H1N1 pandemic in 2009. Result(s): Our data showed decrease in inpatient and outpatient workload across all three specialties, but the decrease was least in medical oncology (medical oncology -18.5% inpatient and -3.8% outpatient, internal medicine -5.7% inpatient and -24.4% outpatient, general surgery -17.6% inpatient, and -39.1% outpatient). The decrease in general surgery workload was statistically significant. The proportion of emergency department admissions to medical oncology increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. Furthermore, the study compared the workload during COVID-19 with the prior H1N1 pandemic in 2009 and showed a more drastic decrease in patient numbers across all three specialties during COVID-19. Discussion(s): We conclude that inpatient and outpatient workload in medical oncology remains high despite an ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The inpatient medical oncology workload is largely contributed by the stable number of emergency department admissions, as patients who require urgent care will present to a healthcare facility, pandemic or not. Healthcare systems should maintain manpower in medical oncology to manage this vulnerable group of patients in light of the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic. Copyright © The Author(s) 2022.