Cancer Patients' Experiences with Telehealth before and during the COVID-19 Pandemic in British Columbia

Curr Oncol. 2022 Jun 10;29(6):4199-4211. doi: 10.3390/curroncol29060335.


Background: Patients have had their cancer care either postponed or changed to telehealth visits to reduce exposure to COVID-19. However, it is unclear how these changes may have affected their experiences. We aim to identify patient characteristics that affect telehealth experiences and evaluate their preferences for using telehealth in the future.

Methods: Patients who completed the Outpatient Cancer Care (OCC) Patient Experience Survey were invited to participate. They comepleted the modified OCC Survey, which focused on telehealth during the pandemic. Linear and logistic regression analyses were used to identify patient characteristics that influenced telehealth experiences and preferences for future telehealth use.

Results: Perceived ease of participation in telehealth is a significant predictor of the change in patients' ratings of their telehealth experience. We found that cancer patients had lower preferences for using telehealth in the future if they were older, female, or non-white; resided in an urban area; had no previous telehealth experience; had lower education; and had poorer mental health.

Conclusions: To optimize cancer care and improve equitable access to high-quality telehealth care during the pandemic and beyond, clinicians and policymakers will need to consider patients' self-reported experiences and their personal characteristics.

Keywords: COVID-19 pandemic; cancer; patient-reported experiences; telehealth.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Ambulatory Care
  • British Columbia
  • COVID-19* / epidemiology
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Neoplasms* / epidemiology
  • Neoplasms* / therapy
  • Pandemics
  • Telemedicine*

Grants and funding

This research was funded by the Canadian Centre for Applied Research in Cancer Control (ARCC). ARCC is funded through a Canadian Cancer Society grant (2015-703549).