HumanInsight Implementation of a Hybrid Care Model for Telemedicine-based Cancer Pain Management at the Cancer Center of Naples, Italy: A Cohort Study
In Vivo. 2023 Jan-Feb;37(1):385-392. doi: 10.21873/invivo.13090.
BACKGROUND/AIM: Telemedicine, the remote delivery of healthcare services, represents a great opportunity for cancer pain management. A care model of telemedicine that combines remote visits and hospital access could be an effective and safe strategy for pain management of cancer patients.
PATIENTS AND METHODS: A retrospective study was conducted using the dataset of the telemedicine program at the Istituto Nazionale Tumori of Naples, Italy for assessing the efficacy of a telehealth-based model of care. Demographic, clinical, and process variables were investigated.
RESULTS: A total of 226 cases and 489 visits were included in the analysis. The mean age of patients was 63.4 years (SD=12.4 years), and no sex differences were observed. Approximately 55% of patients were ECOG-PS ≤2 and 87% suffered from metastatic disease. More than half of the patients were treated with high doses of opioids. Each patient had a mean of 2 remote visits and half of the patients had more than 1 telehealth consultation. The dropout ratio was 5.3%. Most visits (n=472) were conducted on patients in the Campania Region, Italy. The maximum covered distance from the Cancer Center and the patients' location was 555.22 Km. A significant difference in the overall number of visits (p=0.006) and the number of pro-capita remote visits (p=0.010) was found, in favor of the group of patients treated before the end of the Covid-19 emergency in Italy, compared to those treated after the pandemic.
CONCLUSION: Despite various positive outcomes, the analysis highlights several weaknesses, such as the need to assist patients with advanced and non-advanced disease located outside the regional territory. Overall, the telehealth processes should be adapted to post-pandemic scenarios towards their implementation in routine clinical practice.
PMID:36593040 | DOI:10.21873/invivo.13090
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