That was why it was really no surprise to recently hear that one of the top programs in the nation for cancer care, at Vanderbilt, has launched telemedicine services for patients receiving a new approach to treating the disease.
At Vanderbilt-Ingram Cancer Center, patients receiving chimeric antigen receptor T-cell (CAR-T) infusions—a treatment in which a patient’s genetics are modified—now can avoid hospital stays thanks to a new telehealth program that the Center has initiated…again taking the lead in this arena.
CAR-T cell therapy is a type of immunotherapy that involves a one-time infusion of a patient’s own immune cells that have been genetically modified to recognize and attack cancer. More leading edge treatments.
“Our goal is to use technology to do what is best for the patient,” says Olalekan Oluwole, assistant professor of medicine. “With this being new, we had to build in extra safety mechanisms, so we decided to provide this to only those patients staying sufficiently close by.”
According to Dr. Oluwole, patients need to be monitored most closely for the first month after receiving the one-time CAR-T infusion. The telemedicine program offers close-proximity monitoring of CAR-T patients, rather than long-distance care. So at this point in time, this program has been established to let patients leave the medical grounds as long as they stay in the area.
“Instead of being confined to a hospital room for a week or longer, patients stay within 30 miles of Vanderbilt University Medical Center,” states VUMC’s announcement. “Patients must still report to the hospital for twice-daily clinical visits before they receive a nightly telemedicine checkup in their homes or hotel rooms.”
Certainly a better way to receive medical care that can be frightening and anxiety-inducing and all thanks to the use of technology.