One of the biggest hurdles faced by many mesothelioma patients is their own geography: those who live far from the university hospitals that offer the most advanced diagnostic and treatment capabilities face the difficult choice of denying themselves state-of-the-art treatment or leaving their home and their loved ones at great physical and emotional cost as well as financial expense. Now telemedicine technology is changing all of this, providing those patients the ability to stay in the comfort of their own homes while still being seen by mesothelioma specialists with unique insights into their condition.
Like many other complicated diseases, mesothelioma requires the attention of multiple healthcare professionals. Patients seen at oncology centers are seen by multidisciplinary teams, including thoracic surgeons with extensive experience in resection of the rare disease’s tumors. In the United Kingdom, patients receiving care at a small local hospital were still able to receive this high level of attention and expertise through telemedicine appointments and videoconferencing with cardiothoracic specialists at hospitals in London. A study showed that as a result of the use of this technology, there were 30 percent more surgeries performed at the local hospitals, and patient wait time was reduced. It was calculated that the use of the technology saved over three working weeks over the course of the year, making the thoracic surgeons impact far greater.
In the United States, the use of telemedicine has already provided improved access to care for veterans diagnosed with malignant mesothelioma as a result of the Veterans Healthcare Administration’s use of videoconferencing technology to triage patients. Its use has meant that patients are able to be seen by specialists after waiting just two weeks on average after a call, and the process has meant that 71 percent of them have received different treatment than they would have had they simply been seen by the physician who was locally available to them.
Having access to a specialist can make all the difference for patients diagnosed with mesothelioma. If you or someone you love needs information about the care that’s available to you, contact the Patient Advocates at Mesothelioma.net today at 1-800-692-8608.