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Virtual visits among gynecologic oncology patients during the COVID-19 pandemic are accessible across the social vulnerability spectrum. Gynecol Oncol 2021 07;162(1):4-11



Pubmed ID


Pubmed Central ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85105799766   1 Citation


OBJECTIVE: The COVID-19 pandemic has quickly transformed healthcare systems with expansion of telemedicine. The past year has highlighted risks to immunosuppressed cancer patients and shown the need for health equity among vulnerable groups. In this study, we describe the utilization of virtual visits by patients with gynecologic malignancies and assess their social vulnerability.

METHODS: Virtual visit data of 270 gynecology oncology patients at a single institution from March 1, 2020 to August 31, 2020 was obtained by querying a cohort discovery tool. Through geocoding, the CDC Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) was utilized to assign social vulnerability indices to each patient and the results were analyzed for trends and statistical significance.

RESULTS: African American patients were the most vulnerable with a median SVI of 0.71, Asian 0.60, Hispanic 0.41, and Caucasian 0.21. Eighty-seven percent of patients in this study were Caucasian, 8.9% African American, 3.3% Hispanic, and 1.1% Asian, which is comparable to the baseline institutional gynecologic cancer population. The mean census tract SVI variable when comparing patients to all census tracts in the United States was 0.31 (range 0.00 least vulnerable to 0.98 most vulnerable).

CONCLUSIONS: Virtual visits were utilized by patients of all ages and gynecologic cancer types. African Americans were the most socially vulnerable patients of the cohort. Telemedicine is a useful platform for cancer care across the social vulnerability spectrum during the pandemic and beyond. To ensure continued access, further research and outreach efforts are needed.

Author List

McAlarnen LA, Tsaih SW, Aliani R, Simske NM, Hopp EE


Elizabeth E. Hopp MD Assistant Professor in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Medical College of Wisconsin
Lindsey A. McAlarnen MD Gynecology Oncology Fellow in the Obstetrics and Gynecology department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

African Americans
Asian Americans
Cohort Studies
Communicable Disease Control
Genital Neoplasms, Female
Healthcare Disparities
Medical Oncology
Middle Aged
Patient Acceptance of Health Care
Socioeconomic Factors
United States
Vulnerable Populations