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Consultation via telemedicine and access to operative care for patients with head and neck cancer in a Veterans Health Administration population.

Beswick DM, Vashi A, Song Y, Pham R, Holsinger FC, Rayl JD, Walker B, Chardos J, Yuan A, Benadam-Lenrow E, Davis D, Sung CK, Divi V, Sirjani DB. Consultation via telemedicine and access to operative care for patients with head and neck cancer in a Veterans Health Administration population. Head & neck. 2016 Jun 1; 38(6):925-9.

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Abstract:

BACKGROUND: The purpose of this study was to evaluate a telemedicine model that utilizes an audiovisual teleconference as a preoperative visit. METHODS: Veterans Health Administration (VHA) patients with head and neck cancer at 2 remote locations were provided access to the Palo Alto Veterans Affairs (PAVA) Health Care System otolaryngology department via the telemedicine protocol: tissue diagnosis and imaging at the patient site; data review at PAVA; and a preoperative teleconference connecting the patient to PAVA. Operative care occurred at PAVA. Follow-up care was provided remotely via teleconference. RESULTS: Fifteen patients were evaluated. Eleven underwent surgery, 4 with high-grade neoplasms (carcinoma). Average time from referral to operation was 28 days (range, 17-36 days) and 72 (range, 31-108 days), respectively, for high-grade and low-grade groups. The average patient was spared 28 hours traveling time and $900/patient was saved on travel-related costs. CONCLUSION: A telemedicine model enables timely access to surgical care and permits considerable savings among select VHA patients with head and neck cancer. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Head Neck 38: 925-929, 2016.





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