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1973 Racial Disparities in Telemedicine Uptake during the COVID-19 Pandemic Among Patients with Hematologic Malignancies in the United States

Program: Oral and Poster Abstracts
Session: 905. Outcomes Research—Lymphoid Malignancies: Poster I
Hematology Disease Topics & Pathways:
Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Accessibility (DEI/DEIA) , Disparities, Racial Inequities, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI), Clinical Practice (e.g. Guidelines, Health Outcomes and Services, and Survivorship, Value; etc.)
Saturday, December 11, 2021, 5:30 PM-7:30 PM

Natalia Neparidze, MD1, Krystal W. Lau2*, Xiaoliang Wang, PhD, MPH3*, Amy J. Davidoff, PhD4*, Scott F. Huntington, MD, MPH5, Omer Hassan Jamy, MD6, Gregory Calip, PhD7*, Harsh Shah, DO8, Deborah M. Stephens9, Rebecca A. Miksad, MD, MPH3*, Ravi Parikh, MD10*, Samuel Takvorian11*, Gaurav Goyal, MD12 and Erlene K Seymour, MD3

1Section of Hematology, Yale University, New Haven, CT
2Flatiron Health Inc., Flatiron Health Inc., New York, NY
3Flatiron Health Inc., New York, NY
4National Cancer Institute, NIH, Bethesda, MD
5Department of Internal Medicine, Section of Hematology, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT
6Department of Medicine, University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL
7Flatiron Health Inc, New York, NY
8Division of Hematology and Hematologic Malignancies, Department of Internal Medicine, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT
9Huntsman Cancer Institute, Huntsman Cancer Institute, Salt Lake City, UT
10Perelman School of Medicine and Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
11Division of Hematology & Oncology, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
12Research Collaborator (limited-tenure), University of Alabama at Birmingham, Birmingham, AL

Background/objectives:
The COVID-19 pandemic impacted healthcare visit trends, propelling healthcare systems to reduce in-person visits and hospital admissions and increasingly rely on telemedicine; whether there are differences in these trends across racial groups is unknown. This study investigated potential racial disparities in visits during the pandemic for patients with documented active treatment for hematologic malignancies.

Methods:
We used the nationwide Flatiron Health electronic health record (EHR)-derived de-identified database to select patients with confirmed diagnosis of AML, DLBCL, FL, MCL, CLL or MM, at least 18 years old at initial diagnosis, and documented race in the EHR as Black/African American or White were included. Patients were categorized into treatment types within lines of therapy: Orals (orals + outpatient infusions with orals) vs. Inpatient treatments (chemotherapy, hematopoietic transplants & CAR-T cell therapy). Monthly visit rates were calculated as the number of visits (telemedicine or in-person [in-clinic treatment administration, vitals, and/or labs]) per active patient per 30-day standardized month, except for months in which the patient was considered not active (e.g. no documented therapy, surveillance). We used time-series forecasting methods on pre-pandemic monthly visit rate data (March 2016 - February 2020) to estimate projected counterfactual monthly visit rates (expected rates if the pandemic did not occur) between March 2020 - February 2021 for all diseases combined, for each disease, each treatment type, and each race. Differences between projected and actual monthly visit rates during the pandemic period were considered significant and related due to the pandemic if the actual visit rate was outside of the 95% prediction interval (PI) surrounding the projected estimate. We used cross-correlation analysis to test for significant differences in visit rates between Black and White patients.

Results:
The analysis included 17,621 patients (2,225 Black, 15,396 White): 3,041 AML, 2,715 DLBCL, 1,558 FL, 1,511 MCL, 3,813 CLL and 5,244 MM (1,166 Black, 4078 White). Across all diseases and treatment categories, Black patients had no significant reductions in in-person visit rates throughout the pandemic period compared to the projected rates. There was, however, an 18% statistically significant reduction (95% PI 9.9% - 25%) in in-person visit rates for White patients on orals during early pandemic months (March - May 2020) from a projected visit rate of 2.0 (95% PI 1.8 - 2.2) visits per patient per month to an actual visit rate of 1.61. There was no significant reduction in in-person visit rates for White patients on inpatient treatments. Telemedicine uptake was significantly higher for White patients compared with Black patients for all diseases combined across all treatment categories (Figure A & B) (t = 9.5, p < 0.01), AML inpatient treatments (t = 2.4, p = 0.04), MM orals (Figure C) (t = 6.0, p < 0.01) and MM inpatient treatments (Figure D) (t = 2.3, p = 0.04).

Conclusions:
A tradeoff in reductions in in-person visits and uptake of telemedicine use was observed overall. White patients had significantly higher telemedicine uptake compared with Black patients for both oral and inpatient treatments. In-person visit rates for Black patients were unchanged regardless of treatment category. These in-person visit rates reflect documented telemedicine use disparities, which requires further study into possible compound causes, including economic and societal factors.

Figure. Trends over time in telemedicine visit rates for White patients (blue line) and Black patients (black line)

Disclosures: Neparidze: Eidos Therapeutics: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; GlaxoSmithKline: Research Funding; Janssen: Research Funding. Lau: Flatiron Health Inc: Current Employment; Roche: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Wang: Flatiron Health: Current Employment; Roche: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Davidoff: Amgen: Consultancy; AbbVie: Other: Family member consultancy. Huntington: Bayer: Honoraria; Servier: Consultancy; Pharmacyclics: Consultancy, Honoraria; Thyme Inc: Consultancy; Genentech: Consultancy; AbbVie: Consultancy; SeaGen: Consultancy; Celgene: Consultancy, Research Funding; Flatiron Health Inc.: Consultancy; DTRM Biopharm: Research Funding; TG Therapeutics: Research Funding; AstraZeneca: Consultancy, Honoraria; Novartis: Consultancy. Calip: Flatiron Health Inc: Current Employment; Roche: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company; Pfizer: Research Funding. Shah: AstraZeneca: Research Funding; Seattle Genetics: Research Funding; Epizyme: Research Funding. Stephens: Novartis: Research Funding; Innate Pharma: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Beigene: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; TG Therapeutics: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Karyopharm: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees, Research Funding; Arqule: Research Funding; Mingsight: Research Funding; Epizyme: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Celgene: Consultancy; CSL Behring: Consultancy; AstraZeneca: Consultancy; Abbvie: Consultancy; JUNO: Research Funding; Adaptive: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees. Miksad: Flatiron Health Inc: Current Employment, Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company; Roche: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company. Parikh: Onc.AI: Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company; Humana: Honoraria, Research Funding; Flatiron Health Inc: Honoraria; Thyme Care: Honoraria; Nanology: Honoraria; GNS Healthcare: Current holder of individual stocks in a privately-held company. Takvorian: Genentech: Consultancy; Pfizer: Research Funding. Seymour: Janssen: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Roche: Current equity holder in publicly-traded company; Pharmacyclics: Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees; Flatiron Health Inc: Current Employment; Karyopharm: Honoraria, Membership on an entity's Board of Directors or advisory committees.

*signifies non-member of ASH