Ambulatory Oncology: Infrastructure Development in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic

Clin J Oncol Nurs. 2021 Feb 1;25(1):41-47. doi: 10.1188/21.CJON.41-47.


Background: The COVID-19 pandemic generated challenges to the delivery of safe, efficient, and high-quality cancer care. In ambulatory oncology, where most cancer care is delivered, these challenges required the rapid development of infrastructure.

Objectives: This article describes challenges to the design and implementation of ambulatory oncology infrastructures that support clinical oncology care during a pandemic.

Methods: This article reviews clinical experiences in interprofessional, multicenter, academic, and community settings during the COVID-19 pandemic. Cohesive and efficient services, collaborative processes, and workflows; patient triage and symptom management; technology and equipment; and communication strategies are discussed. National ambulatory care guidelines and practice recommendations are included as applicable and available.

Findings: Continued treatment delivery and support for patients with cancer, as well as infrastructure to minimize viral exposure to patients and oncology healthcare workers, are essential when caring for this high-risk population.

Keywords: COVID-19; ambulatory oncology; oncology nursing; pandemic; telehealth.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Ambulatory Care / standards*
  • COVID-19 / epidemiology
  • COVID-19 / nursing*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Oncology / standards*
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasms / nursing*
  • Oncology Nursing / standards*
  • Pandemics / prevention & control
  • Practice Guidelines as Topic*
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • Telemedicine / standards*
  • United States / epidemiology