Telemedicine in urologic oncology care: Will telemedicine exacerbate disparities?

Zeynep G. Gul, Danielle R. Sharbaugh, Chad Ellimoottil, Kimberly J. Rak, Jonathan G. Yabes, Benjamin J. Davies, Bruce L. Jacobs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Introduction: Disparities in prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer outcomes are associated with access to care. Telemedicine can improve access but may be underutilized by certain patient populations. Our objective was to determine if the patient populations who suffer worse oncologic outcomes are the same as those who are less likely to use telemedicine. Methods: Using an institutional database, we identified all prostate, bladder and kidney cancer encounters from March 14, 2020 to October 31, 2021 (n = 15,623; n = 4, 14; n = 3,830). Telemedicine was used in 13%, 8%, and 12% of these encounters, respectively. We performed random effects modeling analysis to examine patient and provider characteristics associated with telemedicine use. Adjusted odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) were reported as measures of association. Results: Among prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer patients, Black patients had lower odds of a telemedicine encounter (OR 0.51, 95% CI 0.37–0.69; OR 0.22, 95% CI 0.07–0.70; OR 0.46, 95% CI 0.24–0.86), and patients residing in small and isolated small rural towns areas had higher odds of a telemedicine encounter (OR 1.44, 95% CI 1.09–1.91; OR 2.12, 95% CI 1.14–3.94; OR 1.89, 95% CI 1.12–3.19). Compared to providers in practice ≤5 years, providers in practice for 6 to 15 years had significantly higher odds of a telemedicine encounter for prostate and bladder cancer patients (OR 4.10, 95% CI 1.4511.58; OR 3.42, 95% CI 1.09–10.77). Conclusion: The lower rates of telemedicine use among Black patients could exacerbate pre-existing disparities in prostate, bladder, and kidney cancer outcomes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)28.e1-28.e7
JournalUrologic Oncology: Seminars and Original Investigations
Volume42
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2024

Keywords

  • Bladder cancer
  • Healthcare disparities
  • Kidney cancer
  • Prostate cancer
  • Telemedicine

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