The patient. I’ve been coming to the Yawkey center for almost sixteen years now and in the past, this room was elbow to elbow with cancer patients and their caretakers.
As I am enrolled in a clinical trial, not a whole lot has changed as far as my routine. Sure, some of my blood draws are in Danvers now but I’m still logging a lot of hours at the main campus. And, it’s a ghost town.
In the bigger picture, what does this mean? Are all the missing patients meeting remotely with their oncologists? Or are they just coming in for less frequent visits?
One thing that hasn’t changed is the rate at which people develop cancer. No, COVID hasn’t made cancer go away. So the question is, are these missing patients ok? Are they receiving adequate care? And what do their providers think? Are they able to maintain that patient/physician relationship that is so integral to healthcare?
These are all important questions, as we find ourselves forced into doing things in a completely different fashion. It will be necessary to parse what works from what doesn’t, as I feel fairly certain that we will never return to the old paradigms. The future shall be a hybrid, and hopefully we are paying careful attention now so that we adapt what is useful but also scuttle what is not.
There is opportunity in this crisis; an opportunity to improve an outdated healthcare system.