What ways can myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) patients continue to use telemedicine to overcome barriers? Blood cancer patient Lisa Hatfield shares advice for coordinating with your MPN care provider to continue telemedicine visits and how to advocate for continued coverage of virtual visits.
If you got used to and liked doing telemedicine appointments rather than going to in-person appointments during the COVID-19 pandemic, don’t worry – it seems like telemedicine is here to stay! In order to take forward what we have learned from telemedicine during the pandemic, here are a few things to keep in mind.
- Make sure you tell your doctor that you enjoyed telemedicine visits and would like to keep using them as much as possible. You and your doctor can work together to create a schedule of mixing in-person and virtual visits. For example, you might be able to do “remote monitoring,” where you feel your spleen daily to see if it’s more enlarged or keep an eye out if you feel more full or fatigued lately or if you’ve been losing weight unexpectedly and then you report back to your physician on any changes you are experiencing or if your symptoms are worsening.
- You can also complete symptom assessment forms online or discuss the forms through a virtual visit rather than completing and discussing forms in-person.
- In-person appointments will still be necessary if you need blood drawn or if your doctor prefers to feel your spleen first-hand. Be sure to communicate with your healthcare team at what intervals of your MPN treatment you would need to come in office for.
- In a recent podcast interview with ASCO Daily News, Dr. Ana Maria Lopez, Vice Chair of Medical Oncology of the New Jersey division of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, at Jefferson Health suggests that in order to keep telemedicine in the forefront of future care, to advocate for continued reimbursement for telemedicine. Always check with your healthcare provider on the cost or reimbursement for telemedicine appointments.
With these things in mind, we can continue to use telemedicine as it evolves further in MPN care.
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