Breast cancer patients are interested in telemedicine
Nasser H, Bensenhaver J, Antonelli L, Susick LL, Divine G, and Petersen L. Breast cancer patients are interested in telemedicine. Annals of Surgical Oncology 2020; 27:S162-S163.
Annals of Surgical Oncology
Introduction: Telemedicine is enhancing or replacing many aspects of traditional in-office healthcare. The role of telemedicine in the complex care of breast cancer (BC) patients remains unclear. Methods: Via a survey at their initial BC appointment, patients self-reported demographics such as age, race, distance from hospital and education level. Patients answered ten Likert questions about perceptions of telemedicine. Wilcoxon signed rank tests assessed whether overall the respondents reported more or less than neutral interest or concerns due to each of the ten considerations. Wilcoxon rank sum tests and Spearman's rank correlations were used for univariate analysis to assess if responses varied by patient characteristic. Multiple regression assessed for associations. Results: 51 female BC patients completed the survey. 31 patients were White, 19 were <60, and 17 lived over 20 miles from the hospital. 30 patients answered telemedicine could save time, 34 answered telemedicine could improve their access to care, and 35 answered telemedicine could decrease wait time, with Likert responses of '4'/Agree or '5'/ Strongly Agree. No significant associations were observed between interest in telemedicine (gauged by responses to the Likert score questions) and respondent characteristics. The questions that were associated with greater interest in telemedicine had to do with easier access, less waiting time and reduced exposure to infectious diseases. Each of these variables had a median Likert response of '4'/Agree with signed rank test p-values ≤0.010. The question which denoted the most concern about telemedicine involved the use of technology, although the median for that question was '3'/neutral. Finally, the overall median of the directionally aligned Likert responses was 3.4 partway between neutral and agree (indicating more interest/less concern). The signed rank test p-value for this average was 0.009. Conclusions: BC patients are interested in telemedicine. Since age, race, distance from hospital, and education level, are not predictors of interest in telemedicine, providers can consider offering these opportunities to everyone, as healthcare continues to become more personalized.