Eur J Nucl Med Mol Imaging. 2020 Sep 23. doi: 10.1007/s00259-020-05041-0. Online ahead of print.
PURPOSE: To investigate whether a telemedicine service (TMS) carried out during the Covid-19 pandemic impacted on management of patients with differentiated thyroid cancer (DTC).
METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed the number and the findings of outpatient visits in DTC subjects referred between March 11, 2020, and May 31, 2020, during the Covid-19 pandemic at the Radiometabolic Unit of the University of Naples Federico II. Office visits scheduled in March and May 2020 were converted in teleconsultation reaching all patients planned for an in-ward access to advise them to use the TMS for all clinical necessity. The number and the findings of DTC patients evaluated by in-ward access in the corresponding period of 2019 were also assessed for direct comparison.
RESULTS: The number of outpatient visits performed by TMS during the pandemic (n = 445) and by in-ward access in the corresponding period of 2019 (n = 525) was comparable with only 15% of outpatient evaluations missed.
CONCLUSIONS: Our findings demonstrate the utility of telemedicine tools to avoid the potential negative impact of interruption or postponement of diagnostic and/or therapeutic procedures. Therefore, investments in medical network system development, including the implementation of telehealth approaches, should be encouraged at national and international levels.