What Patients Think About Telemedicine

A team of MSK researchers recently published a study in the Journal of the National Comprehensive Cancer Network comparing patient satisfaction of pre-COVID in-person visits to satisfaction with telemedicine during the pandemic. Both Chief Healthcare Executive and Healthday reported on the study.

Erin Gillespie, MD, consults with a patient using telemedicine.

Radiation oncologist and study co-author Erin Gillespie, MD, consults with a patient using telemedicine. Photo: Richard DeWitt

The researchers compared patient satisfaction survey answers from MSK radiation oncology patients. They found no substantial differences in satisfaction between the in-person and telemedicine groups.

Patients with video visits reported a better understanding of their treatment plans than those with telephone-only visits. Two out of three patients reported lower costs with telemedicine, and patients who were unmarried or had lowered ability to perform activities of daily living were more likely to prefer telemedicine, likely because it did not require travel.

While the authors call for long-term study, they conclude that the data supports post-pandemic continuation of telemedicine use in radiation oncology.

Prevent Cancer—Get an HPV Vaccine

Dr. Nancy Y. Lee, Dr. David G. Pfister, Dr. Richard J. Wong, and Dr. Abraham Aragones.

Clockwise, from top left: Dr. Nancy Y. Lee, Dr. David G. Pfister, Dr. Richard J. Wong, and Dr. Abraham Aragones.

Two recent articles highlight the value of human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccines. A USA Today opinion piece by MSK’s Dr. Nancy Y. Lee, Dr. David G. Pfister, and Dr. Richard J. Wong cites an MSK estimate that the pandemic has led to one million missed HPV vaccine doses in adolescents with public insurance since March 2020. HPV causes 31,000 cancers in the United States each year, and the vaccine is a safe and effective way to reduce this disease burden.

A Yahoo article features MSK’s Dr. Abraham Aragones, who works to promote HPV vaccination. Research links 70% of head and neck cancers to HPV, and men are five times more likely than women to be affected by these cancers. But boys and men are vaccinated at lower rates than girls and women.

In 2018, the FDA extended its recommendation for HPV vaccines through the age of 45. Make sure the adolescents in your life get their HPV vaccine doses, and talk to your doctor about getting them, too. Cancer prevention can begin with you.

Cancer Support through Song

One of the many offerings MSK has for cancer patients, caregivers, and survivors is the Rising Voices Choir. Len Robertson, a music teacher who came to MSK for treatment, wrote in Verywell Health about his experiences with breast cancer as a Black man and the support he received by participating in the choir: 

“I’ve been a trained singer for years, but chemo took a toll on my entire body, including my voice. I couldn’t control my voice in the same way, and I was struggling to deal with that change. But everyone in the choir—including some doctors and nurses who were also diagnosed with breast cancer—loved my new voice and helped me stay positive during recovery and treatment.”

Read more about Mr. Robertson’s experience and road to recovery and advocacy.