Innovation in Cancer Care Delivery in the Era of COVID-19

Samyukta Mullangi, MD, MBA; Stephen M. Schleicher, MD, MBA; Emeline M. Aviki, MD, MBA


J Oncol Pract. 2020;16(11):718-719. 

In This Article

Eliminate Low-value Care

Physicians and hospital systems are now as motivated as patients to eliminate low-value care as a result of the need to limit staff and patient exposures. For example, the oncology community has long known that same-day discharge after minimally invasive surgical staging for endometrial cancer is safe, but the required protocols have never been fully adapted. In this new era, all such patients leave the same day unless there is an extenuating reason for overnight observation. As another example, postoperative follow-up visits have traditionally required patients to present in person, regardless of whether that necessitated arduous travel and even if patients were healing well and without complaints. These visits are now being replaced with convenient telemedicine visits that require no additional follow-up if no issues are present. In medical oncology, imaging to monitor disease response is being spread out to the long end of guideline-recommended frequencies in patients who are clinically stable. What alternative payment models have been attempting to accomplish for decades has essentially occurred over the course of the past 2 weeks.