Acclimation to Telehealth for Cancer Patients

This article discusses the benefits of telehealth for cancer patients and policy waivers in radiation oncology. It also covers a number of challenges in telehealth for cancer patients, including the possibility of delays in diagnosis, long wait times, and insufficient resources. Weigh your options carefully and speak with your oncologist to ensure that telehealth can meet your needs. After all, your health and wellbeing are your top priorities.

Adaptation to telehealth in radiation oncology

 

The ability to provide oncology care from anywhere can improve patient access and clinical efficiency. There are several benefits to telehealth in  oncology setting, including reduced health care costs, better access, and increased workflow efficiency. However, there are still some unanswered questions. In addition to patient and physician satisfaction, telehealth can lead to serious challenges if it is not properly implemented or executed.

In addition to reducing travel time, teleoncology can also be beneficial for patients with immunocompromised diseases. The telemedicine service allows these patients to receive cancer care while staying at home, avoiding public exposure and high costs. Telehealth in radiation oncology also enables clinicians to learn more about patients and their lifestyles, two factors that can hinder the use of telehealth in cancer care. Future research should investigate patient and physician attitudes toward teleoncology.

In addition to teleoncology, a study involving 200 oncologists in spring 2020 found that oncologists had generally high satisfaction with the technology. Approximately 60% of the oncologists surveyed said that video visits sufficed for most aspects of cancer care, including reviewing laboratory results and discussing treatment plans. However, a few felt that certain conversations were better handled in person. So, future research in radiation oncology should focus on addressing these issues.

Benefits of telehealth for cancer patients

In a recent survey, physicians and cancer care clinicians from Permanente Northern California said they are highly satisfied with the results of telehealth. More than seventy percent reported better access to health care, a greater feeling of control, and time savings. Physicians and cancer care clinicians perceived telehealth as a safe and beneficial modality, and most said they would continue using it in clinical care.

TH also enables cancer patients in rural areas and other regions to get a cancer treatment consultation from a specialist in a single hospital. Patients report on a regular basis about their cancer-related symptoms, and the remote monitoring system provides guidance on how to deal with them. In addition, patients have a direct follow-up from oncologists if a symptom persists even after the doctor’s visit. In the long run, the success of remote monitoring is promising. Patients were able to handle their symptoms with greater comfort and convenience, allowing them to avoid traveling for their treatment.

In a survey of 200 oncologists, researchers reported that most of them were satisfied with telehealth. Nearly sixty percent felt video visits sufficed for most aspects of patient care, including discussing treatment plans and reviewing lab results. In the future, telehealth could play an important role in improving cancer care. So far, the benefits of telehealth in radiation oncology cannot be denied.

Policy waivers for telehealth for Cancer Patients

The recent broadened the scope of the flexibility offered by telehealth in radiation oncology. The new policy will cover telehealth on-treatment visits under CPT Code 77427 – Radiation Treatment Management. The practice of telehealth requires an interactive audio and video telecommunications system to connect a physician with a patient. In addition to an audio and video telecommunications system, telehealth OTV. Also requires the use of a desktop mobile computing device with audio and video capabilities.

CMS plans to permanently expand the coverage of some telehealth services, and more than 60 services will remain covered post-pandemic. However, not all telehealth services qualify for Medicare coverage in radiation oncology.  For the time being, however, more telehealth services are eligible for reimbursement under the temporary coding guidance.

Although the scope of telemedicine in radiation oncology has only recently expanded, its application is widespread and unprecedented. Academic medical centers such as Michael Dattoli Cancer Center have implemented virtual platforms with remarkable speed. In fact, one academic medical center required more than 90 percent of its attending physicians. To work remotely within two weeks, and Michael Dattoli Cancer Center conducted 1500 follow-up and on-treatment. Visits via the telemedicine platform during the first 8 weeks of the practice.

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