Telemedicine in radiation oncology post-COVID-19 pandemic : there is no turning back
ID Oražem, Miha (Author), ID Oblak, Irena (Author), ID Španić, Tanja (Author), ID Ratoša, Ivica (Author)

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Purpose We aimed to assess patients’ and physicians’ perspectives on wider implementation of telemedicine in radiation oncology practice, disrupted by the novel coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). Methods Quantitative questionnaires were prepared and distributed between May 27 and June 11, 2020. A 29-question survey targeting patients with cancer was distributed electronically via cancer support organizations. Cross-sectional data from a selected weekday at a radiation oncology department were also analyzed. In addition, a 25-question survey was distributed to 168 physicians employed by a comprehensive cancer center. Results In total, we have analyzed 468 patients’ and 101 physicians’ responses. Among responding patients, 310 were undergoing active treatment and 158 were in follow-up care. Both patients and physicians reported no experiences with video consultations during the COVID-19 pandemic, but 15% of patients stated that they missed telemedicine services that would include a video call. Overall, 30.6% of patients expressed interest in more frequent usage of telemedicine and 23.3% would start using it. Sixty-seven percent of radiation oncologists expressed interest in more frequent usage of telemedicine, and 14% would use it similarly as in the past. For patients treated with radiation therapy (RT), 59.9% and 63.4% of the responding patients acknowledged that video consultations would be an important addition to medical care during RT course or after the completion of RT, respectively. Comparably, 61.1% and 63.9% of radiation oncologists believed video consultations would be useful or extremely useful for patients undergoing RT or for patients in the follow-up setting, respectively. Conclusions The post–COVID-19 era represents a unique chance to improve and guarantee continuity of cancer care via telemedicine solutions, when appropriate.

Keywords:telemedicine, radiotherapy, oncology, covid-19
Typology:1.01 - Original Scientific Article
Organization:MF - Faculty of Medicine
Publication status:Published
Publication version:Author Accepted Manuscript
Number of pages:Str. 411-415
Numbering:Vol. 108, iss. 2
PID:20.500.12556/RUL-122088 This link opens in a new window
ISSN on article:0360-3016
DOI:10.1016/j.ijrobp.2020.06.052 This link opens in a new window
COBISS.SI-ID:26998531 This link opens in a new window
Publication date in RUL:20.11.2020
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Record is a part of a journal

Title:International journal of radiation oncology, biology, physics
Shortened title:Int. j. radiat. oncol. biol. phys.
Publisher:Elsevier, American Society for Radiation Oncology
COBISS.SI-ID:6316807 This link opens in a new window


License:CC BY-NC-ND 4.0, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International
Description:The most restrictive Creative Commons license. This only allows people to download and share the work for no commercial gain and for no other purposes.
Licensing start date:20.11.2020

Secondary language

Keywords:telemedicina, radioterapija, onkologija, covid-19

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