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Telehealth

Advances in communications technology are continuing to affect all aspects of society. Healthcare is no exception. From electronic health records to patient portals and virtual tumor boards, integration of telehealth and telemedicine into healthcare is increasing.

Examples of telehealth and telemedicine utilization include, but are not limited to, videoconferences, audio conferences, electronic transmission of digital images, e-health applications, patient portals, remote patient monitoring, a variety of virtual healthcare provider training options, continuing medical education, nursing call centers, and more.

Although there is no standard definition of telehealth, current consensus is that telehealth is the broader, overarching term. Telehealth encompasses all forms of remote healthcare services, both clinical and non-clinical.

According to the American Telemedicine Association (ATA), "the term [telehealth] itself can evoke a limited view of what telehealth does. What was, until recently, referred to as telemedicine now encompasses a much broader array of services and technologies – AI, virtual reality and behavioral economics are a few examples that come to mind. . . . "1

While the potential of telehealth and telemedicine has been recognized for decades, the COVID-19 public health emergency (PHE) created an imperative that—at least temporarily—removed many long-standing barriers to broader adoption of telehealth solutions.2 Previous to the COVID-19 pandemic, often-cited barriers to wider integration of telehealth approaches included significant regulatory and reimbursement barriers, cost concerns, variability in state-level policies and requirements, and anticipated provider and patient resistance to adoption of this new care delivery approach.3

With the loosening of restrictions and policies to allow rapid implementation of telehealth during the COVID-19 pandemic, health systems, hospitals, cancer programs, and practices have demonstrated the viability of telehealth and telemedicine for some aspects of cancer care.

Telehealth in Action

ACCC documented successes in the cancer care community’s rapid adoption of telehealth to maintain patient care during the COVID-19 public health emergency. To obtain multiple perspectives on best practices in team-based telehealth delivery, ACCC conducted multidisciplinary focus groups with three member sites.

ACCC also conducted interviews with oncology professionals across the country—including a financial advocate, an information technology (IT) professional, a nurse, an oncologist, a pharmacist, and social workers—to learn how their roles were impacted by—and adapted to—the growing need for telehealth services since the onset of the pandemic.
EXPERIENCE TELEHEALTH IN ACTION

Featured Resource

Adoption and Expansion of Telehealth Solutions Cover

A 2021 survey shared how cancer programs have incorporated or planned to incorporate telehealth services to care for patients during COVID-19 and beyond. This infographic summarizes findings from 71 ACCC members who responded to the survey.

Download Infographic

Podcasts

On-Demand Webinars

Telehealth Resources

  • Telemedicine and Cancer Care: Today’s Learnings for a Post-Pandemic World
    Nov 20, 2020

    Envision a day that cancer clinicians can ask an app to advise on immuno-oncology (IO) treatment options for a patient. That day may not be far off.

  • Virtual Navigation to Clinical Trials
    Jan 4, 2019

    In the current oncology clinical trials landscape, many barriers remain to clinical trial enrollment that affect both the oncologist and the patient. Among these are trial locations, strict eligibility requirements, insufficient resources to support appropriate clinical trial education and screening, as well as patient and provider attitudes about trials.

  • Telehealth: Partner in Innovation
    Nov 12, 2018
    The paradigm-changing advancements accompanying immunotherapy for cancer continue to require innovation in care delivery. Telehealth is a natural innovation partner for immuno-oncology when applied to patient-reported outcomes, provider education, and clinical trial enrollment. 

From Oncology Issues

FROM THE ACCCBUZZ BLOG

References

  1. American Telemedicine Association. Telehealth Basics. https://www.americantelemed.org/resource/why-telemedicine. Accessed July 1, 2020.
  2. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services. Additional background: sweeping regulatory changes to help U.S. healthcare system address COVID-19 patient surge. https://www.cms.gov/newsroom/fact-sheets/additional-backgroundsweeping-regulatory-changes-help-us-healthcare-system-address-covid-19-patient. Accessed July 1, 2020.
  3. Sirintrapun JS, et al. Telemedicine in Cancer Care. American Society of Clinical Oncology Educational Book 38 (May 23, 2018) 540-545. https://ascopubs.org/doi/full/10.1200/EDBK_200141. Accessed July 1, 2020.