Background:The rapid outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) led to delays of non-urgent or routine medical care. Regulatory waivers and policy changes from the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for the use of telehealth came as a solution to help fight the outbreak. The aim of this project was to survey the change in the frequency of use of telehealth services among multiple myeloma (MM) patients during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods:We utilized HealthTree Cure Hub For Multiple Myeloma ( and invited patients with active MM cancer or precursor conditions to participate in an online survey. We analyzed patient responses to doctor visits, the use of telehealth before and after the COVID-19 pandemic, and whether they had sufficient access to their doctor.

Results:1,301 MM pts participated in the survey between April 15, 2020, and June 8, 2020. During the pandemic, 36% of patients indicated visiting with their physician less often than before, 2% visited more often, and 62% had no change in the frequency of their visits. The percent of patients responding “Sometimes” or “Yes” to the use of telehealth are reported here. Before the pandemic, 10% of patients used telehealth, while 62% of patients indicated using telehealth during the pandemic, a 523% increase. When asked if they had sufficient access to their MM healthcare provider 90% of patients indicated that they did, while 10% indicated they did not.

Conclusions:There were significantly fewer in-person visits during the COVID-19 pandemic likely due to the CDC-recommended physical distancing practices. During this time, telehealth use among MM patients dramatically increased compared to telehealth use before the pandemic. It is reasonable to assume that patients indicated having sufficient access to their healthcare provider as a result of patients receiving care through telehealth visits. The authors encourage readers to think more broadly about the benefits of telehealth. Maintaining sufficient access to one healthcare provider addressed in this abstract is only a fraction of the benefits telehealth offers. MM is a rare cancer and as a result, some states have few if any specialists. Maintaining telehealth policy changes made during the pandemic would remove geographical barriers and open access to specialists across the country.

Citation Format: Nathan W. Sweeney, Scott R. Goldsmith, Jennifer M. Ahlstrom. Telehealth use among multiple myeloma patients during the COVID-19 pandemic [abstract]. In: Proceedings of the American Association for Cancer Research Annual Meeting 2021; 2021 Apr 10-15 and May 17-21. Philadelphia (PA): AACR; Cancer Res 2021;81(13_Suppl):Abstract nr 716.