Medical Team

COVID Jump-Starts Cancer Care at Home

As with many other clinical service lines, cancer centers have reported a marked shift from in-person clinic visits to telehealth wherever possible, particularly given the immunocompromised status of many patients. “At least 75% of our visits are now being done via telephone or video as a substitute for a clinic visit, to decrease exposure for both the patient and the clinic staff,” said Sarah Slater, PharmD, a pharmacist in hematology/oncology at Northwestern Medicine, in Chicago.

Telehealth primarily is employed for patients on maintenance therapy but also can be used for patients starting new therapies. For example, someone who is beginning treatment on a new oral anticancer agent can receive all of their counseling about taking the drug, what to expect, and potential side effects over the phone, with handouts and calendars sent to them by email, to reduce the number of people with whom that patient must come into contact.