Background and importance During the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV-2 virus, many pathologies have not been diagnosed and/or treated in hospitals because most of the material and human resources have been allocated to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19 as well as to preventing the spread of the virus. In the case of oncological and haematological patients, the first analyses show that a significant number of Spanish patients have had delays in starting their treatments and interruptions, according to the Spanish Society of Medical Oncology (SEOM).
Aim and objectives The objective was to analyse the evolution of the care activity provided to oncohaematological patients with hospital dispensation of oral chemotherapy in the pharmacy service of a Spanish hospital during the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
Material and methods A retrospective descriptive study was carried out. It included all patients who attended the oncohaematological dispensation area of the pharmacy service between March and June 2020. Results were compared with the same period in the previous year (2019).
Results The total number of dispensations during the 4 months of the study was 2182 patients in 2019 and 2155 in 2020, so the total reduction in the number of patients was not significant (1.24% lower). However, during April and May, coinciding with the critical point of the quarantine period, the largest differences occurred: 11.6% and 18.4%, respectively, with a total of 545/482 and 615/503 patients.
During April and May, initiation of treatments decreased by 33.33% and 39.47% compared with the same months in the previous year, and treatment continuations showed a reduction of 9.7% and 16.9%. These results confirm the data published by the SEOM regarding the delay in the initiation and discontinuation in certain patients. Delays in initial care and diagnosis are especially worrisome because of the consequences they can have on the evolution and prognosis of patients.
Conclusion and relevance The results showed a reduction of almost 40% in the initiation of treatments during the main months of quarantine in Spain. The delay in starting treatment highlights the risk. Telematic visits and the possibility of electronic drug prescription have partially controlled this attention deficit.
Conflict of interest No conflict of interest