Integration of Telehealth Raises New Challenges in Cancer Centers

April 30, 2020
Linda Bosserman, MD

Linda Bosserman, MD, discusses the emerging role of telehealth and the challenges with implementing this type of care into cancer centers in the United States.

Linda Bosserman, MD, an assistant clinical professor and staff physician at the City of Hope, discusses the emerging role of telehealth and the challenges with implementing this type of care into cancer centers in the United States.

At the City of Hope, Bosserman says they had already identified the telehealth platform that they wanted to use and were integrating it into their workflow and electronic record. However, there is a whole set of steps that must take place first, such as scheduling, billing, safety, privacy, and patient education.

While it is nice that patients can use video conferencing applications at this time, telehealth platforms must be set up in a HIPPA-compliant way or they will not be the best moving forward in this setting. At this time, video conferencing, as well as phone calls, are allowed in emergency to connect physicians with their patients, address patient issues, and limit the number of patients coming into the hospital. These platforms can also be used to triage patients before coming into the center so they are brought to the safest site in which they can be seen.

Cancer centers across the United States are observing these issues now, but moving forward, Bosserman believes we will see fully integrated platforms for telehealth integrated into health records so that everything is available for an entire multidisciplinary team. Those are the long-term successes, and we have to study them to see their impact on outcomes, Bosserman concludes.