Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on In-person Visit Rates Among Patients with Hematologic Malignancies in the United States
Authors: Gaurav Goyal, Krystal Lau, et al.
Though COVID-19 has led to a dramatic reduction of in-person medical visits in the general population, it was unclear of the impact of the pandemic on patients with hematologic malignancies actively receiving treatment.Utilizing Flatiron’s nationwide electronic health record-derived de-identified database, researchers looked to understand in-person visit rates for patients with hematologic malignancies on cancer treatments.
Why this matters
As researchers try to understand the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic is having on health care delivery, RWD has proven to be an invaluable tool. This study investigated the dynamics between in-person care and telemedicine during the early months of the pandemic for patients with hematologic malignancies. Consistent with other analyses, this report shows a decline in in-person visits.
In addition, it shows that telemedicine may have been used to compensate, at least in part, for that care disruption. Insights such as these, gathered from RWD sources, may enable a refined deployment of future interventions. For instance in this case, telemedicine may not have fully mitigated treatment or procedure delays associated with this breach in care continuity, with potential downstream effects on outcomes; these results could be a crucial starting point to tailor further surveillance studies.
Racial Disparities in Telemedicine Uptake During the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Patients with Hematologic Malignancies in the United States
Authors: Natalia Neparidze, Krystal Lau, et al.
While the COVID-19 pandemic led to a reduction in in-person visits and an increase in the use of telemedicine, it’s unclear whether there are differences in these trends across racial groups. This study investigated potential racial disparities in in-person and telemedicine visits during the pandemic for patients with documented active treatment for hematologic malignancies.
Why this matters
Racial disparities in medical care continue to be a major societal problem that the COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the forefront. This study shows the power of RWD to identify and diagnose where those gaps are most critical.
In this case, the adoption of telemedicine, which could be a helpful measure to navigate massive disruptions in care, seems to have had unequal penetration. As RWD studies cast light on issues like this, they unlock avenues of future research to better understand their causes and search for solutions.
Racial and Age-Related Differences in Impacts of High-Risk Cytogenetic Abnormalities on Survival in Multiple Myeloma in a Nationwide Electronic Health Record-Derived Database
Author: Gregory S. Calip, et al.
The incidence of multiple myeloma and enrichment of cytogenetic abnormalities differ significantly between racial/ethnic groups in the US, and their significance in determining myeloma progression and survival is not well understood. Whole genome sequencing has identified unique mutational signatures in multiple myeloma, including an age-related process common in hyperdiploid myeloma. Researchers aimed to describe racial and age-related differences in the impact of high-risk cytogenetic abnormalities (HRCAs) on survival in multiple myeloma.
Why this matters
Despite the advancements in the treatment of multiple myeloma (MM), characterizing high-risk disease remains a considerable challenge in clinical practice. Specifically in the US, MM is a disease that disproportionately affects elderly and African American patients.
Real-world data have a critical role in filling this considerable knowledge gap. Understanding the risk factors in MM is complex and the clinical heterogeneity of myeloma has long been appreciated as it is clear there is a broad range of disease behavior, with some patients having indolent disease and others having very aggressive disease. Using an EHR-derived database with enough power to provide meaningful information about elderly and African American patient cohorts, this study investigated cytogenetic abnormalities considered high-risk in MM; in doing so, it paves the way for more refined care aimed at populations that tend to be underrepresented in clinical trials.