Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on referral to and delivery of gynecologic oncology care

Shaina F. Bruce, Bridget Huysman, Jinai Bharucha, L. Stewart Massad, Mary M. Mullen, Andrea R. Hagemann, Katherine C. Fuh, Carolyn K. McCourt, Premal H. Thaker, Dineo Khabele, Matthew A. Powell, David G. Mutch, Lindsay M. Kuroki

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6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on referral to and delivery of gynecologic oncology care at a National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study of patients referred for evaluation by a gynecologic oncologist at Washington University in St. Louis from October 2019 – February 2020 (pre-COVID-19), and April - August 2020 (COVID-19). The primary outcome, time from referral to evaluation by a gynecologic oncologist, was compared between the two time periods. Secondary outcomes included time from initial evaluation to treatment and delays/interruptions in care due to the pandemic. Sub-group analyses were performed on patients with a cancer diagnosis to evaluate the impact of COVID-19 on treatment decision making. Results: 884 patients were referred during the study period. Total referrals fell by 32% (526 to 358 patients, p < 0.001) and referrals for cancer fell by 18% (228 to 188 patients, p = 0.049). The pandemic did not impact time from referral to initial gynecologic oncology appointment overall (pre-COVID-19: 19.1 vs. COVID-19: 17.4 days, p = 0.315) or among patients with cancer (14.4 vs. 13.9 days, p = 0.662). Time from initial appointment to cancer treatment decreased by 9 days (34 days to 25 days, p = 0.001). Conclusion: Referrals to gynecologic oncology decreased significantly during the early months of COVID-19. Though time from referral to evaluation was not impacted by the pandemic, time to treatment initiation decreased despite institutional changes related to COVID-19.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100928
JournalGynecologic Oncology Reports
Volume39
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Oncology
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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