Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2019 - 1




For people diagnosed with rare diseases,

comfort of their homes using video on a

instance, eVisits allow liver disease

finding quality care is a challenge. This

desktop computer, tablet or smartphone.

patients to sign up for a transplant

Mesothelioma patients can especially

at more than one institution, which

is certainly the case for patients with
mesothelioma, a rare and aggressive can-

benefit from eVisits for diagnosis and

increases their chances of getting

cer that affects about 3,000 Americans

treatment of the disease. "We base

transplanted faster. Overall, the pro-

every year. Asbestos exposure is the

almost all of our decisions on what the

gram has increased access to liver

most common cause of mesothelioma.

patients tell us and what their X-rays and

transplants for patients across the

The disease usually appears in the lining

laboratory studies show. It's unusual that

country. UMMC's Division of Thoracic

of the lung, but it can also occur in the

Surgery hopes its eVisit program will

lining of the abdomen, heart and testes.

similarly improve access to care for

After diagnosis, patients must quickly
seek treatment recommendations from
health care teams that specialize in
mesothelioma. But finding these specialty teams can be difficult for patients
and their families.
Mesothelioma usually doesn't cause
symptoms until its later stages, so it
often goes undetected and in some
cases is misdiagnosed. This delays
treatment until the disease becomes
difficult to manage. Treatment can also

The ideal patients for
eVisits live far from
Baltimore and have a
complex thoracic condition
such as mesothelioma.
If a patient is a candidate
for surgery, he or she
must be willing to travel
to UMMC for treatment
and recovery.

be expensive, especially for patients
who need to travel for care.

patients with mesothelioma and other
thoracic conditions.
Dr. Friedberg says eVisits also improve
the patient experience. "We're able to
offer the same level of care and attention without the hassle of the physical
visit for a patient. There's no compromise in what we do," he says.
Here are some of the ways the
thoracic eVisit program makes
life easier for mesothelioma patients.

Mesothelioma is a complex condition

a patient's physical examination changes

that is usually treated with a combination

Center's (UMMC) Division of Thoracic

our treatment recommendations," says

of surgery, chemotherapy and radiation

Surgery and the University of Maryland

Joseph S. Friedberg, MD, Charles Reid

therapy. UMMC's Division of Thoracic

Greenebaum Comprehensive Cancer

Edwards professor of surgery and chief

Surgery has a team of mesothelioma

Center (UMGCCC) are addressing these

of the Division of Thoracic Surgery at the

specialists, including surgeons, oncol-

problems with the thoracic surgery eVisit

University of Maryland School of Medicine.

ogists, pathologists, oncology nurses,

program. This telemedicine program

He is also thoracic surgeon in chief at the

interventional pulmonologists and radiol-

allows patients from across the coun-

University of Maryland Medical System.

ogists. The team meets every Monday to

University of Maryland Medical

try to meet with some of the nation's

Other UMMC services that rely on

discuss their patients' treatment options.

top mesothelioma and thoracic oncol-

imaging and laboratory studies, such

"We are one of only a handful of true

ogy experts without having to travel to

as the UMMC Transplant Division, also

multidisciplinary centers in the United

Baltimore. Patients can do this from the

lend themselves well to eVisits. For

States that specialize in mesothelioma,

For more information about the thoracic surgery 


Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Maryland’s Health Matters - UMMS - Winter 2019