By combining in-person visits and telehealth the City of Hope organization is being successful in improving cancer care

Cancer is a critical life-threatening disease that involves a complicated and stressful treatment process with very little certainty for the healing procedure to work out right and cure cancer. The ‘City of Hope’ is a treatment and research organization based in Los Angeles. ‘City of Hope’ primarily focuses on cancer and diabetes but also treats other critical diseases which can be life-threatening. This organization has recognized the importance of advanced technology use in remote treatment and prolonged procedure monitoring.

They had invested in developing Telehealth systems for providing better-structured treatment to patients suffering from cancer. ‘City of Hope’ has the prime goal of bringing changes into the format of treating cancer by the utmost use of all modern technological facilities. This organization not only provides unique and excellent treatment but also conducts various intensive research for framing better treatment procedures and conducting education programs.

This versatile organization has a powerful structure consisting of not only doctors and nurses but also has scientists, research associates, health professionals, and volunteers. The treatment of cancer is often prolonged and regular visits to the hospital might be possibly avoided by using telehealth procedures. The scale to treat more patients requiring remote healthcare.

During the covid pandemic, several cancer patients were infected with the virus but were asymptomatic, these patients were having the possibility to be treated remotely through Telehealth facilities. The patient load was also excess in most hospitals all over the world which called for the aid of Telehealth facilities and other remote monitoring and vitals analysis procedures available. The Telemedicine facilities and technology infrastructure at ‘CIty of Hope’ has been executed by the reputed company Amwell. Diseases like cancer have several stages of effect and those who are diagnosed late with a higher stage often don’t respond to the available treatments that well.

Fighting against cancer is not only a physical battle but a mental battle too, so comfort and presence of loved ones do help patients get through the difficulties much better. The oncology treatment is being re-invented through various researches and some fragments of it do show the benefits of partially being treated in the patient’s comfort zone and familiar space of a home.

A lot of cancer patients faced irregular and interrupted treatment in the time of covid but “The City of Hope” continued treatment in the conventional path along with the rightful application of Telehealth and remote treatment wherever applicable. The telehealth facility is not just about videoconferencing and symptom analysis, the modern technology has allowed certain easily usable gadgets that can send daily vitals to the treatment organizations like ‘City of Hope’ for regular virtual check-ups by professional oncology doctors.

The developments which are still in progress at ‘City of Hope’

The Telehealth facilities are excellent mediums to answer questions to the patient and the family members altogether. This reduces the frequent visits of the patients and also the large numbers of family members who visit the hospital. In a pandemic situation, the hospitals and medical facilities are sensitive zones that should only be visited if it’s an emergency. Sometimes cancer patients have side effects to the treatment and this can also be tackled with the help of modern technology and Telehealth infrastructure.

The lab reports and scans can also be studied remotely with the help of modern digital technology which further reduces the trivial need for hospital visits. Certain medicine prescriptions or changes in the home treatment can also be supervised by oncology doctors remotely through advanced Telehealth strategies. The use of modern healthcare IT equipment has allowed organizations like ‘City of Hope’ to adapt more sensitive approaches like including the family members and other healthcare professionals during the exact treatment process for mental and professional support to the suffering patient. This has led to a specialized form of cancer treatment which is not possible without the advanced technology supporting strong remote communication across multiple media.

 The section of technological facilities like Telehealth and telemedicine still needs further development and wider implementation to succeed in superior care of patients. The cancer treatments usually have greater utilization of emergency resources along with long term hospital presence which has indirectly affected the healthcare system in managing the pandemic situation less efficiently. Cancer treatments are costly and have many times affected the quality of the patient’s life in comparison to the suffering phase. Once someone gets diagnosed with higher stage cancer right from that moment a battle with life begins in which every kind of medical and emotional support the patient receives would be beneficial.

Regular patient monitoring and follow-up is a big aspect of cancer treatment which has been given sufficient importance by treatment organizations like ‘CIty of Hope’. The patient reported physiological changes and the effect of medicines can be monitored by the doctors and there remains evidence of positive outcomes that include reduced hospital visits and reduction in follow up costs for cancer patients. The sector of wearable devices has shown several promising innovations which should be utilized by healthcare departments in critical disease treatments. ‘City of Hope’ is in the same process of utilizing wearable devices and monitoring systems in the most advanced format.

The integration of technologies to create hybrid telehealth models and training professionals

The most advanced Telehealth models do involve the use of multiple types of technology in creating super-efficient and high performing systems to treat patients remotely through platforms provided by healthcare IT vendors. The ‘City of Hope’ organization primarily started their Telehealth journey by launching a dedicated software application to let the patients maintain a strong connection with their doctors through the application platform.

The application also serves as excellent data storage forums which can later on be used for the purpose of research on cancer treatments. Using software platforms like this allows more efficient treatment from doctors and health professionals and has been proven by the ‘City of Hope’ organization. The Telehealth technologies adapted by any critical disease treating facility should be versatile and flexible enough to get integrated with other software or application platforms. The primary software application used by ‘City of Hope’ has been integrated with other platforms and has been also improved in terms of scalability.

In the case of cancer treatment, consistent treatment with disciplined lab testing and proper medication can be the main pillars in curing a person of the disease. The ‘City of Hope’ organization has stated that the use of telehealth systems have allowed them to maintain perfect consistency in their workflow that leads to an enhanced experience of treatment by cancer patients. Tracking with a quality improvement framework is a vital aspect of in-person visits but with the help of telehealth infrastructure, it is possible through integrated platforms. The ‘City of Hope’ organization has an Epic EHR platform that has been integrated with the primary Amwell platform that has made the telehealth process much more smooth, free from any lags and complications. The doctors can jump into a new session just by selection of icons and the rest of the process and facilities are made equally simple to implement.

The medical staff also need to be given proper knowledge and demonstrations of every telehealth system which is meant to be used by them. Still, many healthcare facilities don’t recognize the importance of Remote treatment and Telehealth possibilities yet. The organizations like ‘City of Hope’ are trying to promote the use of these facilities in cancer treatment through their versatile expert team of scientists, doctors and volunteers. Telehealth won’t be successful on a larger scale until more and more health organizations and medical facilities begin to implement telegenetic consultations, remote chemotherapy support, expedited condition triage and the use of advanced wearable gadgets.

 The proportionality between the use of telehealth facilities and in-person visits also needs to be maintained. When an organization would be implementing the telehealth facilities they should begin with two or three units and consider it as a trial phase. Then slowly the proportion of daily telehealth use needs to be increased by reducing in-person visits. The cancer patients would still require to visit the hospital several times but the structure of treating cancer would be much different.

The ‘City of Hope’ organization makes use of an authentic doximity dialer to supervise and recognize patient calls through the Epic Haiku application. This provides patients with a feeling of comfort and recognition and also improves the relationship between the healthcare facility and the cancer patients. There are many supportive care services present that works as a separate organization but also integrates with other medical facilities to provide in-person support whenever necessary by the cancer patients. Another vital aspect of the telehealth facility is gathering feedback from patients and medical professionals to eradicate the trouble blocks faced by them.

Endnote on using Telehealth 

The professional analysis is very important in determining which patients will be able to receive some fragments of the treatment schedule by the Telehealth facility. The hybrid model of telehealth in a combination of in-person visits can be considered the ideal structure of treatment as being implemented by the ‘City of Hope’ organizations.

The health organizations who are planning to implement the telehealth infrastructure should get in touch with other organizations who are already utilizing the benefits of it. This would be helpful in removing doubts and creating a stable structure for critical treatments. Cancer patients have suffered more during the pandemic than before and this is not due to getting affected by covid but many patients have got gaps in their treatment which could have been avoided if a much stronger global infrastructure of Telehealth existed.

Posted by Ajay

Ajay is a dynamic author with over 15 years of experience in software development and management. With his vast knowledge and expertise, Ajay offers a unique perspective on industry trends, practical advice, and captivating talks. Dive into Ajay's blog to enhance your skills and stay ahead in the digital world.