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Virtual Appointments Help Patients With Cancer Continue Care During COVID-19 Health Crisis


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Texas Oncology recently announced a major expansion of its telemedicine services to allow patients to schedule virtual visits with more than 400 physicians and 150 advanced practice providers throughout the statewide cancer care practice. Through this expanded approach, launched earlier this month, Texas Oncology is conducting more than 500 telemedicine visits per day on average, using technology to continue to provide high-quality cancer care to patients from their homes.

The telemedicine expansion is critical to safeguarding patients with cancer currently in Texas Oncology’s care. The practice sees more than 55,000 new patients with cancer each year. Texas Center for Proton Therapy, Texas Breast Specialists, and Texas Urology Specialists, which are part of Texas Oncology, also are participating in the telemedicine initiative.

Continuing Care Safely

“Expanding the telemedicine capability that we launched at Texas Oncology 5 years ago enables our patients to access their physicians from their mobile phones or home computers—without having to come to one of our locations. Robust adoption of this technology is an essential component of our overall approach to continuing vital, timely care, while protecting the safety of our patients and our staff during the COVID-19 health crisis,” said Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA, Executive Vice President, Public Policy and Strategic Initiatives at Texas Oncology.

Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA

Debra Patt, MD, MPH, MBA

Steven Paulson, MD

Steven Paulson, MD

Through a video conferencing app that patients can easily download, physicians and care team members see patients, share files, review imaging, and laboratory data and engage with patients and their families. The virtual patient experience is similar to an office visit.

“Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, care for patients with cancer cannot be delayed,” said Steven Paulson, MD, President and Chairman of the Board for Texas Oncology. “[Telemedicine] is just one way we can continue to provide high-quality cancer care while supporting social distancing.” 

 


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