Doctor Krishnan during a telemedicine session with a patient over the computer

Telehealth eases burden
for Orange County patient

Lilly Grannis remembers how exhausting it was to be sick in the early days after her multiple myeloma diagnosis in 2018. “It seemed like I was doing blood work every other day, and I was getting calls at night from my doctor to send me back to the hospital — I needed to get an IV, calcium, potassium,” she said. “There were times I didn’t want to get up and go. It was very trying.” 
That’s why Grannis appreciates the option for telehealth appointments with City of Hope. With the secure Hope Virtual video conferencing platform, patients can meet with their physicians face to face while staying in the comfort of their homes. It gives them a break from traveling to the doctor’s office without having to take a break in their treatment plan. 
“Most of us who go through cancer treatment don’t always feel up to getting dressed and driving to appointments, due to the effects of our treatment,” Grannis said.  
The telehealth app has been especially valuable during the COVID-19 pandemic. An American Cancer Society survey found that 87% of patients and survivors had their care disrupted due to coronavirus — cancer patients such as Grannis often have compromised immune systems that put them at higher risk for the disease. Telehealth appointments help maintain a seamless continuum of care and allow patients to practice social distancing by staying at home.  
Amrita Krishnan, M.D., performed Grannis’s 2018 stem cell transplant at City of Hope and continues to guide her course of treatment. Dr. Krishnan, a professor in the Department of Hematology & Hematopoietic Cell Transplantation and hematologist-oncologist with City of Hope Ç€ Newport Beach, said telehealth provides more people access to world-class, compassionate cancer care. 
“Our reach is beyond California. It’s international,” said Dr. Krishnan. “This really opens up our physicians to many, many more patients.”
For Grannis, one recent telehealth appointment played a pivotal role in her cancer care. After the stem cell transplant, her cancer was no longer detectable, and she was on a maintenance treatment plan, meeting regularly with Dr. Krishnan. After getting some blood test results, however, Dr. Krishnan set up an impromptu telehealth appointment with Grannis.   
“She said, ‘We’re going to put you on a new protocol. You’re going to be fine, but we want to jump on this,’” Grannis said. “I will always be under the auspices of City of Hope and be monitored, and I love that — I know I’m not going to be blindsided by this. When you detect any type of cancer early, you have a better outcome. It’s like any chronic disease; you always have to be on top of it.”