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J Med Internet Res ; 24(1): e29635, 2022 01 19.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1638544


BACKGROUND: Rapid implementation of telehealth for cancer care during COVID-19 required innovative and adaptive solutions among oncology health care providers and professionals (HPPs). OBJECTIVE: The aim of this qualitative study was to explore oncology HPPs' experiences with telehealth implementation during the COVID-19 pandemic. METHODS: This study was conducted at Moffitt Cancer Center (Moffitt), an NCI (National Cancer Institute)-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Prior to COVID-19, Moffitt piloted telehealth visits on a limited basis. After COVID-19, Moffitt rapidly expanded telehealth visits. Telehealth visits included real-time videoconferencing between HPPs and patients and virtual check-ins (ie, brief communication with an HPP by telephone only). We conducted semistructured interviews with 40 oncology HPPs who implemented telehealth during COVID-19. The interviews were recorded, transcribed verbatim, and analyzed for themes using Dedoose software (version 4.12). RESULTS: Approximately half of the 40 participants were physicians (n=22, 55%), and one-quarter of the participants were advanced practice providers (n=10, 25%). Other participants included social workers (n=3, 8%), psychologists (n=2, 5%), dieticians (n=2, 5%), and a pharmacist (n=1, 3%). Five key themes were identified: (1) establishing and maintaining patient-HPP relationships, (2) coordinating care with other HPPs and informal caregivers, (3) adapting in-person assessments for telehealth, (4) developing workflows and allocating resources, and (5) future recommendations. Participants described innovative strategies for implementing telehealth, such as coordinating interdisciplinary visits with multiple HPPs and inviting informal caregivers (eg, spouse) to participate in telehealth visits. Health care workers discussed key challenges, such as workflow integration, lack of physical exam and biometric data, and overcoming the digital divide (eg, telehealth accessibility among patients with communication-related disabilities). Participants recommended policy advocacy to support telehealth (eg, medical licensure policies) and monitoring how telehealth affects patient outcomes and health care delivery. CONCLUSIONS: To support telehealth growth, implementation strategies are needed to ensure that HPPs and patients have the tools necessary to effectively engage in telehealth. At the same time, cancer care organizations will need to engage in advocacy to ensure that policies are supportive of oncology telehealth and develop systems to monitor the impact of telehealth on patient outcomes, health care quality, costs, and equity.

COVID-19 , Telemedicine , Health Personnel , Humans , Pandemics , SARS-CoV-2
Nat Rev Urol ; 19(4): 231-239, 2022 Apr.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1585838


Rare tumours such as penile carcinoma have been largely neglected by the urology scientific community in favour of more common - and, therefore, more easily fundable - diseases. Nevertheless, penile cancer represents a rising burden for health-care systems around the world, because a lack of widespread expertise, ineffective centralization of care and absence of research funds have hampered our ability to improve the global care of these patients. Moreover, a dichotomy has arisen in the field of penile cancer, further impeding care: the countries that are mainly supporting research on this topic through the development of epidemiological studies and design of clinical trials are not the countries that have the highest prevalence of the disease. This situation means that randomized controlled trials in developed countries often do not meet the minimum accrual and are intended to close before reaching their end points, whereas trials are almost completely absent in those areas with the highest disease prevalence and probability of successful recruitment, such as Africa, South America and South Asia. The scientific and organizational inaction that arises owing to this mismatch translates into a burdensome cost for our patients. A global effort to gather experts and pull together scientific data from around the world may be the best way to boost clinical research, to change clinical practice and, ultimately, to improve care for patients and their families.

Penile Neoplasms , Africa , Humans , Male , Penile Neoplasms/diagnosis , Penile Neoplasms/epidemiology , Penile Neoplasms/therapy
J Natl Cancer Inst ; 114(4): 571-578, 2022 Apr 11.
Article in English | MEDLINE | ID: covidwho-1566036


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 (TTI) 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 TTI, 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 5962 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 affect TTI or treatment selection for patients with metastatic solid cancers.

COVID-19 , Neoplasms, Second Primary , COVID-19/epidemiology , Humans , Neoplasm Recurrence, Local/epidemiology , Neoplasms, Second Primary/epidemiology , Pandemics , Time-to-Treatment , United States/epidemiology