Asia Pac J Clin Oncol. 2023 Sep 15. doi: 10.1111/ajco.14002. Online ahead of print.
AIM: COVID-19 accelerated telehealth (video and telephone) use for cancer care to reduce disease exposure and transmission. Understanding consumers’ health service delivery needs is required to sustain telehealth activity and develop new models of care. We explored consumers’ experiences of telehealth in cancer care and their perspectives on improving and sustaining telehealth uptake in the future.
METHODS: Exploratory design mixed-methods study using the Model for Assessment of Telemedicine (MAST) framework. Consumers affected by cancer completed an online survey and semistructured interviews. Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics and chi-square. Qualitative data from the MAST consumer domain were thematically analyzed.
RESULTS: There were 1162 survey respondents and 18 interview participants. Video and telephone were used in cancer care with various providers. Telephone was used more frequently. Most respondents (85%) had reliable internet connections for video, however, 36% were not offered a video consultation. Video compared with telephone users were statistically significantly more likely to be satisfied with the quality of their treatment and perceived their consultation achieved as much as an in-person consultation. Telephone users (51%) compared with video users (31%) were more likely to perceive their concerns would have been better understood by their care provider if they were seen in person. Five themes emerged from the qualitative data. Consumers want modality choice, video provides superior experiences versus telephone, consultation mode preference is fluid, and consultation scheduling and administration need further consideration.
CONCLUSION: Consumers support telehealth in cancer care. Consumers want consultation mode choices based on their needs and purpose of consultation.