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J Pain Symptom Manage ; 63(3): 423-429, 2022 03.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1458612


CONTEXT: Given a shortage of specialty palliative care clinicians and geographic variation in availability, telemedicine has been proposed as one way to improve access to palliative care services for patients with cancer. However, the enduring digital divide raises questions about whether unequal access will exacerbate healthcare disparities. OBJECTIVES: To examine factors associated with utilization of telemedicine as compared to in-person visits by patients with cancer in the ambulatory palliative care setting. METHODS: We collected data on patients seen in Supportive Oncology clinic by palliative care clinicians with an in-person or telemedicine visit from March 1 to December 30, 2020. A logistic regression with generalized estimating equation was fit to assess the association between visit type and patient characteristics. RESULTS: A total of 491 patients and 1783 visits were identified, including 1061 (60%) in-person visits and 722 (40%) telemedicine visits. Female patients were significantly more likely to utilize telemedicine than male patients (OR 1.46; 95% CI 1.11-1.90). Spanish-speaking patients (OR 0.32, 95% CI 0.17-0.61), those without insurance (OR 0.28, 95% CI 0.15-0.52), and those without an activated patient portal (Inactivated: OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.26-0.82; Pending Activation: OR 0.29, 95% CI 0.18-0.48) were less likely to utilize telemedicine. CONCLUSION: Our study reveals disparities in telemedicine utilization in the ambulatory palliative care setting for patients with cancer who are male, Spanish-speaking, uninsured, or do not have an activated patient portal. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we can better meet the palliative care needs of patients with cancer through telemedicine only if equity is kept at the forefront of our discussions.

COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Ambulatory Care , Female , Humans , Male , Palliative Care , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
J Pain Symptom Manage ; 62(3): e206-e212, 2021 09.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1101394


CONTEXT: High quality communication is essential to older adults' medical decision-making, quality of life, and adjustment to serious illness. Studies have demonstrated that Geritalk, a two day (16 hours total) in-person communication skills training improves self-assessed preparedness, skill acquisition, and sustained practice of communication skills. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Geritalk was adapted to a virtual format (four days, 10 hours total). OBJECTIVES: Our study evaluated the change in participants' self-assessed preparedness for serious illness communication before and after the virtual course and satisfaction with the course, and compared these findings to responses from a prior in-person Geritalk course. METHODS: Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine fellows at three urban academic medical centers completed surveys, which employed five-point Likert scales, before and after the virtual course to assess satisfaction with the course and preparedness for serious illness communication. RESULTS: Of the 20 virtual Geritalk participants, 17 (85%) completed the pre-course assessment, and 14 (70%) completed the post-course assessment. Overall, satisfaction with the course was high (mean 4.9 on a 5-point scale). Compared to in-person Geritalk participants, virtual course participants reported comparable and significant (P < 0.01) improvements in mean self-reported preparedness across all surveyed communication skills. CONCLUSION: We show that a virtual communication skills training is feasible and effective. Our findings suggest that the innovative virtual Geritalk course has the potential to increase access to communication skills training, improve serious illness communication skills, and in improve the quality of care received by older adults with serious illness.

COVID-19 , Quality of Life , Aged , Communication , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
J Clin Oncol ; 39(2): 155-169, 2021 01 10.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1013168


This report presents the American Society of Clinical Oncology's (ASCO's) evaluation of the adaptations in care delivery, research operations, and regulatory oversight made in response to the coronavirus pandemic and presents recommendations for moving forward as the pandemic recedes. ASCO organized its recommendations for clinical research around five goals to ensure lessons learned from the COVID-19 experience are used to craft a more equitable, accessible, and efficient clinical research system that protects patient safety, ensures scientific integrity, and maintains data quality. The specific goals are: (1) ensure that clinical research is accessible, affordable, and equitable; (2) design more pragmatic and efficient clinical trials; (3) minimize administrative and regulatory burdens on research sites; (4) recruit, retain, and support a well-trained clinical research workforce; and (5) promote appropriate oversight and review of clinical trial conduct and results. Similarly, ASCO also organized its recommendations regarding cancer care delivery around five goals: (1) promote and protect equitable access to high-quality cancer care; (2) support safe delivery of high-quality cancer care; (3) advance policies to ensure oncology providers have sufficient resources to provide high-quality patient care; (4) recognize and address threats to clinician, provider, and patient well-being; and (5) improve patient access to high-quality cancer care via telemedicine. ASCO will work at all levels to advance the recommendations made in this report.

Biomedical Research , COVID-19/therapy , Medical Oncology , Neoplasms/therapy , SARS-CoV-2 , Clinical Trials as Topic , Delivery of Health Care , Humans , Research Design , Societies, Medical