UVA Health System uses video technology to help cancer patients in rural areas

UVA Health System uses video technology to help cancer patients in rural areas

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia Health System is using technology to help people in rural areas cope with all the stress that comes with cancer. The telemedicine cancer survivorship intervention connects survivors of neck and head cancer with a nurse to answer questions and hear concerns.

The period after treatment for cancer can be a stressful time for many patients, especially those in rural areas without many resources. The University of Virginia Health System is seeking to change that with this new telehealth system.

A nurse video calls a patient and asks them a series of questions rating their responses on a scale from zero to 10, with 10 indicating it is a major stressor. The questions range from discussing any financial difficulties to seeing if they have any problems sleeping. After the conference, the nurse gets to work addressing the patient's concerns.

"If it is needing a speech-language pathologist out in the community I can make referrals, social workers. If it is a community where they don’t have the resources, you know, our patients are going to be coming back for follow up,” UVA Cancer Center Care Coordinator Allen Cupp said.

About 20 patients have gone through the intervention and there is a team of people analyzing the results as the team is hoping to scale it up to include other cancer survivors.

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