Published online Dec 24, 2020. doi: 10.5306/wjco.v11.i12.968
Peer-review started: June 4, 2020
First decision: October 6, 2020
Revised: October 9, 2020
Accepted: October 30, 2020
Article in press: October 30, 2020
Published online: December 24, 2020
Due to coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic caused by severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2, there has been a major reallocation of resources that has impacted the treatment of many diseases, including cancer. The growing use of information and communication technologies (ICT), together with a new approach to work aimed at ensuring the safety of health care professionals and patients alike, has allowed us to maintain the quality of care while ensuring biosecurity. The application of ICT to health care (eHealth) aims to significantly improve the quality, access to, and effectiveness of medical care. In fact, the expanded use of ICT has been recognized as a key, cost-effective priority for health care by the World Health Organisation. The medical speciality of radiation oncology is closely linked to technology and as a consequence of coronavirus disease 2019, ICT has been widely employed by radiation oncologists worldwide, providing new opportunities for interaction among professionals, including telemedicine and e-learning, while also minimizing treatment interruptions. Future research should concentrate on this emerging paradigm, which offers new opportunities, including faster and more diverse exchange of scientific knowledge, organizational improvements, and more efficient workflows. Moreover, these efficiencies will allow professionals to dedicate more time to patient care, with a better work-life balance. In the present editorial, we discuss the opportunities provided by these digital tools, as well as barriers to their implementation, and a vision of the future.
Core Tip: We believe that the current crisis is an opportunity to take advantage of the momentum towards the greater implementation of electronic health, to improve care through telemedicine, remote work, and e-learning. The emergence of information and communication technologies has transformed the speciality of radiation oncology into teleradiotherapy. Future research should focus on this emerging paradigm, which allows greater flexibility, thereby freeing up time for more efficient and humane patient care.