Cancer Provider and Survivor Experiences With Telehealth During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



JCO oncology practice








PURPOSE: The COVID-19 pandemic led to rapid shifts in cancer survivorship care, including the widespread use of telehealth. Given the swift transition and limited data on preferences and experiences around telehealth, we surveyed oncology providers and post-treatment survivors to better understand experiences with the transition to telehealth. METHODS: We distributed provider (MD, PA or NP, nurse, navigator, and social worker) and survivor surveys through the American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer in mid-October 2020. Survivor surveys were also disseminated through patient advocacy organizations. We included questions on demographics, experiences with telehealth, and preferences for future telehealth utilization. RESULTS: Among N = 607 providers and N = 539 cancer survivors, there was overwhelmingly more support from providers than from survivors for delivery of various types of survivorship care via telehealth and greater comfort with telehealth technologies. The only types of appointments deemed appropriate for survivorship care by both > 50% of providers and survivors were discussion of laboratory results or imaging, assessment and/or management of cancer treatment symptoms, nutrition counseling, and patient navigation support. Only a quarter of survivors reported increased access to health care services (25.5%), and 32.0% reported that they would use telehealth again. CONCLUSION: Although there have been drastic changes in technological capabilities and billing reimbursement structures for telehealth, there are still concerns around delivery of a broad range of survivorship care services via telehealth, particularly from the patient perspective. Still, offering telehealth services, where endorsed by providers and if available and acceptable to cancer survivors, may provide more efficient and accessible care following the COVID-19 pandemic.