Medical

Oncologists fear the threat to health from missed appointments during COVID-19 pandemic

Health Industry Hub | July 8, 2020 |
[Total: 1    Average: 4/5]

Medical News: Doctors are concerned the coronavirus pandemic may have a hidden cost – the long term health of Australians, especially when it comes to cancer.

After months of quarantine lockdown and social distancing, cancer specialists have seen a decline in the number of patients turning up for regular check-ups and screening.

Dr Sanjeev Kumar is an oncologist specialising in breast cancer treatment at Sydney’s comprehensive cancer hospital, the Chris O’Brien Lifehouse.

He said in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, general health was a concern.

“I am worried,” Dr Kumar said.

“Hospitals in general have been quieter, patients are not presenting as much to their GP for regular checks.

“Most of my patients are referred to me after seeing their GP, so if people are not seeing their normal health practitioner, that is a concern.”

To help reach patients during the COVID-19 lockdown, Chris O’Brien Lifehouse introduced the Attend Anywhere telehealth system and according to Dr Kumar, it had proved to be invaluable.

“During this time, I’ve used telehealth for probably 80% of my patients,” he said.

“I have preferred to see new patients face-to-face – I find it easier to gain a rapport with them that way – and then follow up via telehealth.

“With the Attend Anywhere system, patients were sent a link and they were able to log in from home.

“It has a virtual waiting room, so patients could see where I was at in my schedule; for example, I could send them a message to say, ‘hey I’m running a bit late, make a coffee and then log in again in 15 minutes’.

Selfcare In Healthcare Coalition on Mental Health Support in Pharma, Biotech and MedTech

“We had an IT person roaming around, so if there were any problems with logging in or video or anything, they would come and fix it.

“So it was made very easy for us and it worked beautifully.

“However, I will say that with some of my older patients, they didn’t engage with it as much and I did do some phone consultation, but that’s not really ideal.

“A lot of my older patients I continued to see face-to-face.”

Growing up in Canowindra in western NSW, Dr Kumar said the continued improvements in telehealth had great implications for patients in rural and regional areas.

“I’ve seen the ‘health vs distance’ battle up close, and in recent years the ability of regional hospitals to access specialists for people in those areas has improved,” he said.

“But even in Sydney, I see people from the outer west or from the Shire and the ease of telehealth for them has been great and for some of those patients, we’ve agreed to continue consultations via telehealth, if their treatment is not scheduled for that same day.

“I think that, effectively, this is a turning point.

“We need to see a more widespread, effective telehealth program and that’s maybe where government can step in and assist.”

Dr Kumar said in some ways, it was “a little frustrating” that it had taken a global pandemic to accelerate the use of telehealth in Australia.

“But to be honest, I’ve also never really realised how effective telehealth could be either,” he said.

“And now, having engaged with that process, I can see how effective it is and from a patient perspective as well, that’s got to be a good thing.”


About the author

About the author

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Nam luctus finibus scelerisque. Nunc bibendum ipsum sed augue fringilla fringilla. Nullam at consectetur leo. Praesent viverra rutrum porta. Quisque vitae mi vel purus vulputate tincidunt. Class aptent taciti sociosqu ad litora torquent per conubia nostra, per inceptos himenaeos. Suspendisse et mi quis nisi rhoncus feugiat at ac tellus. Sed aliquam sodales nulla ac auctor. Sed pretium lobortis purus accumsan ullamcorper. Phasellus sodales vel odio in lobortis. Duis maximus sagittis bibendum. Interdum et malesuada fames ac ante ipsum primis in faucibus. Nunc dictum tincidunt ipsum in vestibulum. Donec ut sem consectetur, aliquam quam vitae, pharetra orci. Nam egestas non velit eu rhoncus. Duis congue neque non lacus tincidunt porta. Vestibulum ultricies pulvinar sem, molestie congue dui aliquet non.
  • Ut imperdiet leo id lorem fermentum consectetur.
  • Ut vitae orci et dui varius tincidunt.
  • Ut id magna non libero vestibulum pharetra ac faucibus nulla.
Aliquam erat volutpat. Vestibulum vitae varius diam. Nulla eget congue ante. Nunc ullamcorper sagittis augue vel dictum. Mauris finibus nibh ut pulvinar auctor. Vestibulum ut faucibus nisi. Orci varius natoque penatibus et magnis dis parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus. Quisque porta tortor ac justo malesuada elementum. Nulla tellus ante, cursus nec ex sit amet, suscipit bibendum arcu. Duis posuere orci dui, et mollis enim dictum at. Sed ullamcorper, sapien ut vulputate viverra, sem purus porttitor tellus, nec mattis mauris ligula sed risus. Nulla sagittis id ipsum eu mattis. Link to full profile

News & Trends - Medical Technology

MedTech News - State first heart procedure with non-invasive technology most commonly used to combat cancer

State first heart procedure with non-invasive technology most commonly used to combat cancer

Health Industry Hub | August 4, 2020 |

MedTech News: A team of cardiologists and radiation oncologists from Fiona Stanley Hospital (FSH) and GenesisCare, have become the first […]

More


News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharma News - Medicines Australia calls for a focus in planning Australia's future in health

Medicines Australia calls for a focus in planning Australia’s future in health

Health Industry Hub | August 4, 2020 |

Pharma News: Medicines Australia Chief Executive Officer, Elizabeth de Somer has urged a focus on planning for the future – […]

More


News & Trends - Medical Technology

MedTech News - Australian-first procedure for chronic pain sufferers

Australian-first procedure for chronic pain sufferers

Health Industry Hub | August 3, 2020 |

Please log in to Health Industry Hub to view this content in the ‘News & Trendsmenu →Medical Technology’ sub-menu.

More


News & Trends - Pharmaceuticals

Pharma News - New PBS listings in lung cancer, epilepsy and ovarian cancer – AstraZeneca, Roche, Pfizer and Emerge Health

New PBS listings in lung cancer, epilepsy and ovarian cancer – AstraZeneca, Roche, Pfizer and Emerge Health

Health Industry Hub | August 3, 2020 |

Please log in to Health Industry Hub to view this content in the ‘News & Trendsmenu →Pharmaceuticals’ sub-menu.

More