Read the Blog HereWelcome to this week’s healthcare Knowledge Knugget! As a part of “The Executive Innovation Show” podcast, we’re bringing you the hot topics, questions we receive each week, and game-changing ideas, best practices, and tips. During today’s topic, Dr. Shikha Jain, MD talks about how telehealth is being used in oncology during COVID-19. Dr. Shikha Jain, MD is an assistant professor of medicine in the Division of Hematology and Oncology and the physician director of social media and communication at the Rush University Cancer Center.Dr. Shikha Jain, MD goes through some great use cases that they’re doing during COVID and really what is the future of telehealth for cancer care post-pandemic.As we look at this patient population who’s highly prone with low immune systems, it really is critical to keep them at home. We should use telehealth as follow-ups to their chemo, to the radiation. Allowing the oncologist to be able to prioritize who they actually need to physically see and who they need to be touching base with. There are two sides to this. There’s the preventative testing, which has been kind of put on hold during COVID. Then there are actual cancer patients who are going through the process of chemoradiation that oncologists really are keeping a very close eye on this patient population. How Has COVID-19 Impacted Cancer Care Across The Country? We have found that COVID-19 is a very easily transmissible disease, meaning it’s very easy to pass between people, even in some people who don’t have any symptoms. And so the challenge for Dr. Jain’s cancer patients has been how to continue their treatment without putting them at unnecessary risk. Providers are doing what they can without exposing them to potential patients who do have coronavirus.Practices across the country have done a variety of things in order to help prevent the spread and protect our patients. One thing that has been done pretty much globally at this point in the United States is telemedicine. So many patients who don’t need to be physically seen are able to access their physicians and their care teams over the phone and through video visits. Telehealth has been found to be very effective because patients are able to have a clinic visit when they don’t necessarily need to come in. This way they won’t have to visit the hospital or the clinic and be unnecessarily exposed. Patients seem to enjoy this type of visit because they’re able to do it from their own home.Has Cancer Care Become More Personalized?One thing that has happened with COVID-19 is cancer care has become even more personalized. we have found that the patients who really need to be seen are actually coming in to be seen. Those who may benefit from televisits will also be using the benefit of telehealth in the future. It is likely that telemedicine will continue to be incorporated in cancer care and that is hopefully one silver lining and one positive that comes out of this global pandemic. We will be able to incorporate these more convenient ways of seeing patients and providing patient care in the future. Learn more about One Touch Telehealth and how telehealth can help providers improve quality care for oncology patients. Register for the “COVID Telehealth Adoption: Why Simple Patient & Physician Experience is Critical” webinar here.
About Shikha Jain, MD FACP
I am a practicing, board-certified hematology/oncology physician in Chicago. I speak on topics ranging from the impact of social media on healthcare, how physicians can utilize social media, how to write Op-eds in the medical world, gender equity and barriers to career advancement, and topics in GI oncology and immunotherapy. My goal is to explain complicated topics in simple terms. I also enjoy writing and you can find some of my writing on this site. I am a mother to three amazing kids and married to a gastroenterologist. I look forward to connecting with you.