The global COVID-19 pandemic has forced the world to consider new ways of working together. How can virtualisation of care help clinicians and patients to thrive in this new environment?

Healthcare centres across the world have experienced the effects of a reduction in face-to-face care, such as delayed diagnosis, altered treatment pathways, sub-optimal or delayed patient care.1 In a global survey the majority of physicians reported facing related challenges, with over one-third of the centres experiencing interruptions to cancer-specific care.2 Additionally, cancer patients appear to have an increased risk of both, contracting COVID-19 and presenting with a more severe disease course than non-cancer patients.3-5 Therefore, continued patient care is particularly important and this is where virtualisation of care can help.

The whitepaper “Virtualisation of Care - COVID-19 and Beyond” provides more information and guidance on how to optimise virtualisation of care in your practice.

Acceptance and adoption of virtualisation of care by oncologists across the globe is increasing, as reflected in the recommendations regarding cancer care delivery from the American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO)6 and the strategies for patient management and follow-up from the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) multi-disciplinary expert consensus.7

In this video, Alex Pimenta, MD, shares his experience of establishing a framework for virtual patient consultation in Brazil, where teleconsultation wasn’t permitted prior to the pandemic


Kristin Rojas, MD, FACS, FACOG, on introduction of virtual tumor boards in her centre and offers advice for fellow clinicians.

Henning Schulze-Bergkamen, MD, on his experience in establishing a network of virtua , molecular tumor boards in Germany.

Alexandria Phan, MD, FACP, on her team switched to a cloud-based tumor board solution within just two weeks, leading to immediate benefits and increased clinician attendance.

The final decisions stay with people. Digital solutions such as tumour board software help make decisions in a more timely, confident way, also when meeting face to face is not possible.

Already today, digital innovation in healthcare benefits 1000s of patients - an important piece in the puzzle of personalised healthcare.

References

  1. Richards M, et al. The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cancer care. Nat Cancer. 2020:10.1038/s43018-020-0074-y.

  2. Jazieh AR, et al. Oncologists knowledge, attitude and practice in COVID-19 pandemic and its negative impact on them: An international study. Annals of Oncology. 2020;31:S4 (poster presentation).

  3. Liang W, et al. Cancer patients in SARS-CoV-2 infection: a nationwide analysis in China. Lancet Oncol. 2020;21:335-7.

  4. Yu J, et al. SARS-CoV-2 Transmission in Patients With Cancer at a Tertiary Care Hospital in Wuhan, China. JAMA Oncol. 2020;6:1108-10.

  5. Miyashita H, et al. Do patients with cancer have a poorer prognosis of COVID-19? An experience in New York City. Ann Oncol. 2020;31:1088-9.

  6. Pennell NA, et al. American Society of Clinical Oncology Road to Recovery Report: Learning From the COVID-19 Experience to Improve Clinical Research and Cancer Care. J Clin Oncol. 2021;39:155-69.

  7. Curigliano G, et al. Managing cancer patients during the COVID-19 pandemic: an ESMO multidisciplinary expert consensus. Ann Oncol. 2020;31:1320-35.

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