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Telehealth update Oct 2021

dear all, it does seem as though in the peri-COVID world we are all getting more used to video communication like Zoom and we have the opportunity WHEN appropriate to use telehealth (TH) as a way to conduct appointments.

It needs to be clear that this is simply for the moment a risk minimization strategy during the pandemic to protect the staff and patients from exposure to COVID 19. It is not intended to replace face-to-face consultations, particularly for patient, carer, or doctor convenience.

A TH consultation will miss the benefits of a face-to-face (F2F) consultation which includes a better assessment of the physical state of the patient, and improved rapport. If we have recommended or requested a F2F consultation it is important to comply with this to optimize the quality of care. If a patient requests a TH consultation, it will be approved if it is considered safe and reasonable.

You’re most welcome to request a F2F consultation if that is your preference. We do feel very strongly that patients and carers need to have received at least one CV19 vaccination. If this is not the case, please let us know prior to attendance so this can be discussed further. Mask wearing will be a requirement for the foreseeable future.

TH (or telephone ) consultations are billed the same as a F2F appointment except in occasional cases. These appointments still demand secretarial time with treatment and test bookings, script management, and letter dictation. We do not regard them as a ‘soft option ‘ requiring less time or focus from the staff or patient.

Please allocate time for your appointment and carry it out in a quiet space free from distractions. The car or dog walk is not an appropriate time to discuss medical care.

If you have concerns about the quality of the interaction during a TH appointment please feedback your concerns immediately to our office so we can address your concerns.

Warm regards all, Shane.

Vaccine boosters

dear all, ATAGI have released the latest guidelines on the vaccine booster which entails an additional vaccination with either Pfizer or Moderna regardless of brand of your original vaccine (although you can have AZ if you wish). It is recommended you receive it if required 2-6 mths after your 2nd vaccine.

With regard to my patients, the phrasing is “non-haematological malignancy with current active treatment including chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and/or hormonal therapy, but excluding immunotherapy with immune checkpoint inhibitor.” if you are unsure if you fall into this group please contact me. So in my opinion…

Boosters required

Any patient who received chemotherapy whether oral or intravenous at the time of their first &/or second vaccinations.

Any patient with advanced breast cancer on hormonal therapy.

Any patient with advanced lung cancer on a targeted therapy .e.g. osimertinib.

Boosters not required (YET!)

Any patient with resected or early breast or lung cancer on follow-up, not on chemotherapy.

Any patient with advanced thoracic cancer on immunotherapy only.