Skip to content

Cancer Patients’ Preferences and Perceptions of Advantages and Disadvantages of Telehealth Visits During the COVID-19 Pandemic

We aimed to ascertain oncology patients’ perceptions of telehealth versus in-person (IP) visits for different types of clinical encounters. We surveyed adults undergoing cancer treatment at Kaiser Permanente Northern California infusion centers between November 2021 and May 2022 using a self-administered questionnaire. Patients were asked about visit modality preferences (video, phone, and IP) for six types of clinical discussions, overall advantages and disadvantages of telehealth (video or phone) versus IP modalities, and barriers to video visit use. The 839 patients who completed surveys in English were 63% female; median age 63 years; 64% White; and 73% college-educated (45% ≥bachelor’s degree). For the first postdiagnosis discussion visit, 83% of patients preferred IP, followed by video (27%) and phone (18%). For follow-up visits, 52% of patients preferred IP, 50% video, and 37% phone. For discussions of bad news and sensitive topics, respectively, 68% and 62% preferred IP, 44% and 48% video, and 32% and 41% phone visits. Delivery of good news was acceptable through IP (49%), video (52%), or phone (49%) visits. Perceived advantages of IP visits were greater feelings of connection with their doctor (58%), confidence in physical examinations (73%), and ease in showing things (67%) and talking (51%) to the doctor. Advantages of telehealth visits included saved time (72%) and money (38%), less infection exposure (64%), less travel concerns (45%), and ability to include more people (28%). Of 24% of patients who felt video visits would be hard, 51% cited poor internet, 41% lack of an adequate device, and 28% difficulty signing on. Our results support continued use and reimbursement for telehealth visits with patients with cancer for most types of clinical encounters, including clinical trials.

Authors: Kumar, Deepika;Gordon, Nancy;Zamani, Constanza;Sheehan, Tammy;Martin, Ernesto;Egorova, Olga;Payne, Jessica;Kolevska, Tatjana;Neeman, Elad;Liu, Raymond

JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2023 Sep;7:e2300040.

PubMed abstract

Explore all studies and publications

Back To Top