ICYMI: New Study Finds “Telehealth Saves Time, Travel, and Money” for Cancer Patients
Virtual Care Reduces Indirect Costs and Saves Time for Cancer Patients According to New Moffitt Cancer Center Study
In case you missed it, a new study conducted by researchers at the Moffitt Cancer Center and published on the JAMA Network, found that telehealth significantly lowers costs and improves convenience for patients with cancer. Telehealth, on average, saved oncology patients about $200 per visit in indirect cost and saved them years in time spent traveling or at in-person visits.
The study analyzed nearly 11,700 patients under age 65 and more than 25,000 visits at the National Cancer Institute-Designated Comprehensive Center in Florida from April 2020 to June 2021. According to the National Cancer Institute, cancer is one of the most expensive conditions to treat and the pandemic has only increased these costs in the past few years. The study focused on two indirect costs, travel and loss of productivity because of travel and office visits.
The study’s key findings found that virtual care visits among the National Cancer Institute- Designated Comprehensive Center saved:
- $200 per visit on average
- 3,790,000 roundtrip miles (equates to about 152.2 times around the earth)
- Saved more than 75,000 hours of driving time (roughly 8.6 years)
- 1,170,00 savings in lost income in time spent
- 29,626 hours clinic hours (about 3.4 years)
On the findings, the report’s co-authors wrote, “The burden of travel has been identified as an important factor that can change access to diagnosis, treatment of cancer and participation in clinical trials. Transportation is a key determinant of healthcare access and has been identified as an important source of out-of-pocket nonmedical costs for patients receiving cancer care.” The study underscores the need for a better approach to making treatment more convenient and cost-effective for patients.
Telehealth can play a significant role in allowing patients flexibility in their treatment plans. While Congress took a major step forward toward protecting virtual care by extending telehealth protections until the end of 2024 in the Consolidated Appropriations Act, 2023, permanent solutions will be needed to safeguard access to telehealth for all patients.
ABOUT TELEHEALTH ACCESS FOR AMERICA
Telehealth Access for America (TAFA) is a public education campaign supported by leaders in health care committed to better care, expanded patient choice, and protecting access to critical telehealth services. Learn more and take action today at www.telehealthaccessforamerica.org.