Analysis of the Implementation of Telehealth Visits for Care of Patients With Cancer in Houston During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Jorge G. Darcourt, Kalia Aparicio, Phillip M. Dorsey, Joe E. Ensor, Eva M. Zsigmond, Stephen T. Wong, Chika F. Ezeana, Mamta Puppala, Kirk E. Heyne, Charles E. Geyer, Robert A. Phillips, Roberta L. Schwartz, Jenny C. Chang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

64 Scopus citations


PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the use of telemedicine amid the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic in patients with cancer and assess barriers to its implementation. PATIENTS AND METHODS: Telehealth video visits, using the Houston Methodist MyChart platform, were offered to patients with cancer as an alternative to in-person visits. Reasons given by patients who declined to use video visits were documented, and demographic information was collected from all patients. Surveys were used to assess the levels of satisfaction of treating physicians and patients who agreed to video visits. RESULTS: Of 1,762 patients with cancer who were offered telehealth video visits, 1,477 (83.8%) participated. The patients who declined participation were older (67.7 v 60.2 years; P < .0001), lived in significantly lower-income areas (P = .0021), and were less likely to have commercial insurance (P < .0001) than patients who participated. Most participating patients (92.6%) were satisfied with telehealth video visits. A majority of physicians (65.2%) were also satisfied with its use, and 74% indicated that they would likely use telemedicine in the future. Primary concerns that physicians had in using this technology were inadequate patient interactions and acquisition of medical data, increased potential for missing significant clinical findings, decreased quality of care, and potential medical liability. CONCLUSION: Oncology/hematology patients and their physicians expressed high levels of satisfaction with the use of telehealth video visits. Despite recent advances in technology, there are still opportunities to improve the equal implementation of telemedicine for the medical care of vulnerable older, low-income, and underinsured patient populations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)e36-e43
JournalJCO oncology practice
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2021


  • Aged
  • COVID-19/complications
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms/complications
  • Pandemics
  • Patient Satisfaction
  • SARS-CoV-2/pathogenicity
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Telemedicine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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