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Telemedicine for head and neck cancer surveillance in the COVID-19 era: Promise and pitfalls


Telemedicine for head and neck cancer surveillance in the COVID-19 era: Promise and pitfalls

Head Neck. 2021 Mar 4. doi: 10.1002/hed.26659. Online ahead of print.

ABSTRACT

BACKGROUND: The coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic has led to increased telemedicine visits. This study examines current preferences and barriers for telemedicine among patients with head and neck cancer.

METHODS: Single institution retrospective analysis of 64 patients scheduling visits with the head and neck surgical oncology clinic at a tertiary academic medical center. Data were collected detailing patient preferences and barriers regarding telemedicine appointments. Patients electing to participate in telemedicine were compared to those preferring in-person appointments.

RESULTS: Most patients (68%) were not interested in telemedicine. Preference for in-person examination was the most common reason for rejecting telemedicine, followed by discomfort with or limited access to technology. Patients elected telemedicine visits to avoid infection and for convenience.

CONCLUSIONS: When given a choice, patients with head and neck cancer preferred in-person visits over telemedicine. Although telemedicine may improve health care access, patient preferences, technology-related barriers, and limitations regarding cancer surveillance must be addressed moving forward.

PMID:33660409 | DOI:10.1002/hed.26659

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