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1.
J Natl Compr Canc Netw ; : 1-4, 2022 Jan 06.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1608104

ABSTRACT

The NCCN Best Practices Committee, which is composed of senior physician, nursing, and administrative leaders from NCCN Member Institutions, evaluated the status of cancer center operations after 1 year of operating during the COVID-19 pandemic. Two major initiatives stood out: the increase in the utilization of network sites, and the gains made in telemedicine operations and reimbursement. Experts from NCCN Member Institutions participated in a webinar series in June 2021 to share their experiences, knowledge, and thoughts on these topics and discuss the impact on the future of cancer care.

2.
J Natl Cancer Inst ; 2021 Dec 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566036

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The COVID-19 pandemic has led to delays in patients seeking care for life-threatening conditions; however, its impact on treatment patterns for patients with metastatic cancer is unknown. We assessed the COVID-19 pandemic's impact on time to treatment initiation and treatment selection for patients newly diagnosed with metastatic solid cancer. METHODS: We used an electronic health record-derived longitudinal database curated via technology-enabled abstraction to identify 14,136 US patients newly diagnosed with de novo or recurrent metastatic solid cancer between January 1 and July 31 in 2019 or 2020. Patients received care at approximately 280 predominantly community-based oncology practices. Controlled interrupted time series analyses assessed the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic period (April-July 2020) on time to treatment initiation, defined as the number of days from metastatic diagnosis to receipt of first-line systemic therapy, and use of myelosuppressive therapy. RESULTS: The adjusted probability of treatment within 30 days of diagnosis was similar across periods (January-March 2019 = 41.7%, 95% confidence interval [CI] = 32.2% to 51.1%; April-July 2019 = 42.6%, 95% CI = 32.4% to 52.7%; January-March 2020 = 44.5%, 95% CI = 30.4% to 58.6%; April-July 2020 = 46.8%, 95% CI = 34.6% to 59.0%; adjusted percentage-point difference-in-differences = 1.4%, 95% CI = -2.7% to 5.5%). Among 5,962 patients who received first-line systemic therapy, there was no association between the pandemic period and use of myelosuppressive therapy (adjusted percentage-point difference-in-differences= 1.6%, 95% CI = -2.6% to 5.8%). There was no meaningful effect modification by cancer type, race, or age. CONCLUSIONS: Despite known pandemic-related delays in surveillance and diagnosis, the COVID-19 pandemic did not impact time to treatment initiation or treatment selection for patients with metastatic solid cancers.

3.
JCO Clin Cancer Inform ; 5: 1134-1140, 2021 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1518337

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: Patients with cancer are at greater risk of developing severe symptoms from COVID-19 than the general population. We developed and tested an automated text-based remote symptom-monitoring program to facilitate early detection of worsening symptoms and rapid assessment for patients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19. METHODS: We conducted a feasibility study of Cancer COVID Watch, an automated COVID-19 symptom-monitoring program with oncology nurse practitioner (NP)-led triage among patients with cancer between April 23 and June 30, 2020. Twenty-six patients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 were enrolled. Enrolled patients received twice daily automated text messages over 14 days that asked "How are you feeling compared to 12 hours ago? Better, worse, or the same?" and, if worse, "Is it harder than usual for you to breathe?" Patients who responded worse and yes were contacted within 1 hour by an oncology NP. RESULTS: Mean age of patients was 62.5 years. Seventeen (65%) were female, 10 (38%) Black, and 15 (58%) White. Twenty-five (96%) patients responded to ≥ 1 symptom check-in, and overall response rate was 78%. Four (15%) patients were escalated to the triage line: one was advised to present to the emergency department (ED), and three were managed in the outpatient setting. Median time from escalation to triage call was 11.5 minutes. Four (15%) patients presented to the ED without first escalating their care via our program. Participant satisfaction was high (Net Promoter Score: 100, n = 4). CONCLUSION: Implementation of an intensive remote symptom monitoring and rapid NP triage program for outpatients with cancer and suspected or confirmed COVID-19 infection is possible. Similar tools may facilitate more rapid triage for patients with cancer in future pandemics.


Subject(s)
COVID-19 , Neoplasms , Text Messaging , Female , Humans , Middle Aged , Neoplasms/diagnosis , SARS-CoV-2 , Triage
4.
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
6.
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.

7.
JCO Oncol Pract ; 17(9): 534-540, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1133634

ABSTRACT

PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic has posed significant pressures on healthcare systems, raising concern that related care delays will result in excess cancer-related deaths. Because data regarding the impact on patients with breast cancer are urgently needed, we aimed to provide a preliminary estimate of the impact of COVID-19 on time to treatment initiation (TTI) for patients newly diagnosed with breast cancer cared for at a large academic center. METHODS: We conducted a retrospective study of patients with newly diagnosed early-stage breast cancer between January 1, 2020, and May 15, 2020, a time period during which care was affected by COVID-19, and an unaffected cohort diagnosed between January 1, 2018 and May 15, 2018. Outcomes included patient volume, TTI, and initial treatment modality. Adjusted TTI was compared using multivariable linear regression. RESULTS: Three hundred sixty-six patients were included. There was an 18.8% decrease in patient volume in 2020 (n = 164) versus 2018 (n = 202). There was no association between time of diagnosis (pre-COVID-19 or during COVID-19) and adjusted TTI (P = .926). There were fewer in situ diagnoses in the 2020 cohort (P = .040). There was increased use of preoperative systemic therapy in 2020 (43.9% overall, 20.7% chemotherapy, and 23.2% hormonal therapy) versus 2018 (16.4% overall, 12.4% chemotherapy, and 4.0% hormonal therapy) (P < .001). CONCLUSION: TTI was maintained among patients diagnosed and treated for breast cancer during the COVID-19 pandemic at a single large academic center. There was a decrease in patient volume, specifically in patients with in situ disease and a shift in initial therapy toward the use of preoperative hormonal therapy.


Subject(s)
Breast Neoplasms , COVID-19 , Breast Neoplasms/drug therapy , Breast Neoplasms/epidemiology , Female , Humans , Pandemics , Retrospective Studies , SARS-CoV-2 , Time-to-Treatment
8.
J Natl Compr Canc Netw ; : 1-5, 2020 Oct 30.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-895608

ABSTRACT

The coronavirus pandemic has significantly impacted operations at leading cancer centers across the United States. In the midst of the chaos, at least one silver lining has emerged: the development of new, creative strategies for delivering cancer care that are likely to continue post pandemic. The NCCN Best Practices Committee, which is composed of senior physician, nursing, and administrative leaders at NCCN Member Institutions, conducted a webinar series in June 2020 highlighting the most promising and effective strategies to date. Experts from NCCN Member Institutions participated in the series to share their experiences, knowledge, and thoughts about the future of cancer care.

10.
JAMA Oncol ; 6(9): 1429-1433, 2020 09 01.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-807051

ABSTRACT

Importance: The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has forced oncology clinicians and administrators in the United States to set priorities for cancer care owing to resource constraints. As oncology practices adapt to a contracted health care system, expertise gained from partnerships in low-resource settings can be used for guidance. This article provides a primer on priority setting in oncology and ethical guidance based on lessons learned from experience with cancer care priority setting in low-resource settings. Observations: Lessons learned from real-world experiences are myriad. First, in the setting of limited resources, a utilitarian approach to maximizing survival benefit should guide decision-making. Second, conflicting principles will often arise among stakeholders and decision makers. Third, fair decision-making procedures should be established to ensure moral legitimacy and accountability. Fourth, proactive safeguards must be implemented to protect vulnerable individuals, or disparities in cancer treatment and outcomes will only widen further. Fifth, communication with patients and families about priority setting decisions should be intentional and standardized. Sixth, moral distress among clinicians must be addressed to avoid burnout during a time when resilience is critical. Conclusions and Relevance: Although the need to triage cancer care may be new to those who underwent training and now practice oncology in high-resource settings, it is familiar for those who practice in low- and middle-income countries. Oncologists in the United States facing unprecedented decisions about prioritization can draw on ethical frameworks and lessons learned from real-world cancer care priority setting in resource-constrained environments.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Neoplasms/epidemiology , Oncology Service, Hospital , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , COVID-19 , Communication , Coronavirus Infections/complications , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Decision Making , Health Resources , Humans , Neoplasms/complications , Neoplasms/virology , Pneumonia, Viral/complications , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , United States/epidemiology
11.
Ann Thorac Surg ; 110(2): 692-696, 2020 08.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-701363

ABSTRACT

The extraordinary demands of managing the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world's ability to care for patients with thoracic malignancies. As a hospital's COVID-19 population increases and hospital resources are depleted, the ability to provide surgical care is progressively restricted, forcing surgeons to prioritize among their cancer populations. Representatives from multiple cancer, surgical, and research organizations have come together to provide a guide for triaging patients with thoracic malignancies as the impact of COVID-19 evolves as each hospital.


Subject(s)
Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Medical Oncology/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Thoracic Neoplasms/surgery , Thoracic Surgery/organization & administration , Triage , Betacoronavirus , COVID-19 , Consensus , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2 , Thoracic Surgical Procedures
12.
JCO Oncol Pract ; 16(9): 579-586, 2020 Sep.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-378256

ABSTRACT

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.


Subject(s)
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
13.
Breast Cancer Res Treat ; 181(3): 487-497, 2020 Jun.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-116756

ABSTRACT

The COVID-19 pandemic presents clinicians a unique set of challenges in managing breast cancer (BC) patients. As hospital resources and staff become more limited during the COVID-19 pandemic, it becomes critically important to define which BC patients require more urgent care and which patients can wait for treatment until the pandemic is over. In this Special Communication, we use expert opinion of representatives from multiple cancer care organizations to categorize BC patients into priority levels (A, B, C) for urgency of care across all specialties. Additionally, we provide treatment recommendations for each of these patient scenarios. Priority A patients have conditions that are immediately life threatening or symptomatic requiring urgent treatment. Priority B patients have conditions that do not require immediate treatment but should start treatment before the pandemic is over. Priority C patients have conditions that can be safely deferred until the pandemic is over. The implementation of these recommendations for patient triage, which are based on the highest level available evidence, must be adapted to current availability of hospital resources and severity of the COVID-19 pandemic in each region of the country. Additionally, the risk of disease progression and worse outcomes for patients need to be weighed against the risk of patient and staff exposure to SARS CoV-2 (virus associated with the COVID-19 pandemic). Physicians should use these recommendations to prioritize care for their BC patients and adapt treatment recommendations to the local context at their hospital.


Subject(s)
Breast Neoplasms/classification , Breast Neoplasms/therapy , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Betacoronavirus/isolation & purification , Breast Neoplasms/diagnosis , Breast Neoplasms/pathology , COVID-19 , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Female , Health Resources , Humans , Neoplasm Invasiveness , Pandemics , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , SARS-CoV-2 , Telemedicine , Triage
14.
J Natl Compr Canc Netw ; : 1-6, 2020 04 15.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-66301

ABSTRACT

The novel coronavirus, SARS-CoV-2, was first detected as a respiratory illness in December 2019 in Wuhan City, China. Since then, coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has impacted every aspect of our lives worldwide. In a time when terms such as social distancing and flattening the curve have become a part of our vernacular, it is essential that we understand what measures can be implemented to protect our patients and healthcare workers. Undoubtedly, healthcare providers have had to rapidly alter care delivery models while simultaneously acknowledging the crucial unknowns of how these changes may affect clinical outcomes. This special feature reviews strategies on how to mitigate transmission of COVID-19 in an effort to reduce morbidity and mortality associated with the disease for patients with cancer without infection, for patients with cancer with COVID-19 infection, and for the healthcare workers caring for them, while continuing to provide the best possible cancer care. [Editor's Note: This article includes the most current information available at time of publication; however, recommendations regarding public safety and practice may change rapidly in this situation. Individuals should get the most up to date information from the CDC website.].

15.
J Thorac Cardiovasc Surg ; 160(2): 601-605, 2020 Aug.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-46092

ABSTRACT

The extraordinary demands of managing the COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted the world's ability to care for patients with thoracic malignancies. As a hospital's COVID-19 population increases and hospital resources are depleted, the ability to provide surgical care is progressively restricted, forcing surgeons to prioritize among their cancer populations. Representatives from multiple cancer, surgical, and research organizations have come together to provide a guide for triaging patients with thoracic malignancies as the impact of COVID-19 evolves as each hospital.


Subject(s)
Betacoronavirus/pathogenicity , Coronavirus Infections/therapy , Delivery of Health Care, Integrated/organization & administration , Pneumonia, Viral/therapy , Thoracic Neoplasms/surgery , Thoracic Surgical Procedures , Triage/organization & administration , COVID-19 , Clinical Decision-Making , Consensus , Coronavirus Infections/epidemiology , Coronavirus Infections/transmission , Coronavirus Infections/virology , Health Services Needs and Demand/organization & administration , Host Microbial Interactions , Humans , Needs Assessment/organization & administration , Occupational Health , Pandemics , Patient Safety , Patient Selection , Pneumonia, Viral/epidemiology , Pneumonia, Viral/transmission , Pneumonia, Viral/virology , Risk Assessment , Risk Factors , SARS-CoV-2 , Thoracic Neoplasms/epidemiology , Thoracic Surgical Procedures/adverse effects , Time-to-Treatment
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