Looking for the right virtual care can be important for patients with cancer, but now in the midst of the COVID-19 Pandemic, it’s essential. Here is one expert's advice for patients new to telemedicine.
As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to grip the country, more and more patients with cancer are relying on virtual health care, known as telemedicine, for everything from routine check-ups to the examination of worrisome symptoms.
CURE® recently spoke with Dr. Judd Hollander, associate dean for strategic health initiatives at Sidney Kimmel Medical College at Thomas Jefferson University, about how the tides are shifting in the field of telemedicine, making it easier for patients with cancer to get safe access to the care they need— even during a pandemic.
While his own system has been practicing telemedicine for some time now, Hollander went into the challenges that some patients with cancer might face when exploring their own virtual health care options during the pandemic and explained how individuals should weigh the pros and cons of each option.
I think the best thing to do is check with your health system and your doctor to see if telemedicine is offered. There are ways you can get telemedicine through some places like Teledoc that could see you, but that’s not continuous, chronic care, particularly for cancer patients. So, if that’s what you can do, great. But I would always start with trying to do it with your own doctor in your own health system.
If you can’t get your own doctor, maybe somebody else in your health system that has access to your medical records, or somebody else in your health system who knows where you can go to get an x-ray or a blood test; those are going to be the second best answers.
The third best answer is one of the national provider networks that are very competent, but they know nothing about you or possibly your local region.
So, I think telemedicine is available to anybody with a phone, but you need to know what’s best for you and how to access it.