A Tale of Two Counties With the Same Telehealth Story: Experience with Cancer Genetics Testing During COVID-19 at a Community Hospital


  • Allison Jay, MD Division of Cancer Genetics, Ascension St. John Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, USA https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2252-6954
  • Hannah Kelley, BS Natera™ Austin, Texas, USA
  • Susan M. Jay, MD Department of Pediatrics, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA




cancer, community health, genetics, patient engagement, urban health


Introduction: With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, the utilization of telemedicine now offered an alternative diagnostic and treatment resource to providers in many areas of medicine including oncology and cancer genetics. This care option paired with genetic testing labs’ ability to send saliva-based DNA collection kits to patients, enabled our community hospital in Detroit to offer diagnostic testing without the patient coming to a healthcare setting for a host of reasons. Social determinants of health have been found to influence success with telehealth, and this study sought to analyze how successful telehealth cancer genetics care was throughout the Detroit Metro area. Methods: Patient demographics for in person visits six months before COVID were analyzed, and then compared with demographics of patients during the 2020-2021 pandemic period where visits were telehealth. Results: Pre-pandemic there were , 192 unique patients seen in person with the top three cities patients were from were Detroit (12.1%), Clinton Township (8.3%), and Saint Clair Shores (10.4%).  During the pandemic, with telehealth as the major modality, the top three cities were Macomb (7.2%), Detroit (7%), and Clinton Township (7%).   Detroit is in Wayne County, while St.Clair Shores and Clinton Township are in Macomb County. Per the US Census Bureau Macomb county has a median income of $64,641 and Wayne county has a median income of $49,359, and poverty level in Macomb county is 9.2% versus in Wayne the level is 20%.  Conclusions: This paper outlines the challenges of initiating a telemedicine program in an urban community area and highlights the benefits of a concierge service in serving cancer patients who may have economic and historically poor perceived technologic abilities.


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How to Cite

Jay, A., Kelley, H., & M. Jay, S. (2023). A Tale of Two Counties With the Same Telehealth Story: Experience with Cancer Genetics Testing During COVID-19 at a Community Hospital. Telehealth and Medicine Today, 8(3). https://doi.org/10.30953/thmt.v8.382



Original Clinical Research