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Telehealth is increasingly used to improve healthcare access, cost, experience, and effectiveness. These public health issues are especially challenging for patients with cancer. Despite these advantages, telehealth use in oncology is uncommon nationally and provider perceptions regarding the benefits and barriers to its uptake are not well understood. We completed a qualitative study evaluating oncology providers’ perceptions of video visits at an institution with a system-wide telehealth program.

We performed semi-structured interviews with oncology providers at Thomas Jefferson University (TJU) to assess current use, perceived barriers to use, and perceptions of telehealth impact on access, cost, experience, and effectiveness. All interviews were transcribed, and coded using a team-developed codebook. Intercoder reliability was assessed by the κ coefficient. Themes and subthemes emerged via directed content analysis.

29 providers (20 oncologists and 9 advanced practice providers) were interviewed, 26 of whom utilized video visits. Most viewed video visits favorably. Key perceived benefits included increased patient convenience and interactions, and the option to have multi-person visits. Patient access to technology, patient and provider comfort with video visits, provider licensing issues, and lack of physical exam capability were key perceived barriers. Providers had starkly differing opinions on the reliability of video visit technology, integration of telehealth in their work routine, administrative assistance, and effects on patient cost.

Telehealth is generally viewed favorably by oncology providers within a system with widespread telehealth. There are several perceived barriers, most pertaining to logistics and knowledge limitations, which should be addressed to support increased telehealth uptake.