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

Offer Patient-centered Substitutes

Before COVID-19, provider convenience often motivated practice patterns and treatment decisions. These choices span the gamut—duration of clinic hours, type of vascular access favored for chemotherapy, frequency of surveillance imaging, selection of an infused chemotherapy or antinausea agent over an oral pill—and were often contingent on provider preference and habit, rather than patient convenience. This was especially true for choices that are made in the absence of clear clinical data favoring one approach over the other. With COVID-19, a shift toward choices that are more convenient for and limit any unnecessary time spent by patients dominate. For example, surgeons often lean toward using skin staples to close a laparotomy incision as a result of their ease and speed. However, now, subcuticular closures are favorable because the dissolving suture eliminates the need for patients to return for an avoidable office visit for staple removal. In radiation oncology, recommendations for hypofractionation, resulting in fewer patient visits to the clinic for radiation therapy when data support its use, feel more salient than ever.[4]