Steven Brem, MD
PHILADELPHIA—Brain tumor patients will now have access to Penn Medicine’s world-renowned cancer expertise through the launch of a new telemedicine second opinion program for brain tumors. The nationally-recognized Penn Brain Tumor Center is extending the reach and accessibility of its team of dedicated physicians who are focused solely on the diagnosis and treatment of benign and malignant brain tumors through the first phase of this new program.
“Receiving a brain tumor diagnosis is a life-changing event and it can be particularly difficult when facing multiple treatment choices,” said Steven Brem, MD, co-director of the Brain Tumor Center and director of Neurosurgical Oncology. “Thanks to the power of telemedicine, we can provide second opinions to eligible patients, without travel, helping patients and caregivers understand their diagnosis and make the right choice for a treatment plan that’s best for them.”
The Penn Brain Tumor Center, which sees the most brain tumor cases in Pennsylvania, is made up of neurosurgeons, neurologists, radiation oncologists, radiologists, medical oncologists, social workers, nurse navigators, and nurse practitioners. Treatments include surgery using Penn Medicine’s TumorGlow technology that more precisely defines areas of tumor, the highly precise form of radiation known as proton therapy and cutting-edge clinical trials including CAR T cell therapy for the deadly brain cancer glioblastoma. Through the new second opinion telemedicine program, a Penn neurosurgeon will work with the patient’s local provider to review the patient’s medical history, current diagnosis, and any images available to make a recommendation for the best treatment approach.
The new program will be rolled out in phases. Initially, it will be offered for patients in Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Virginia, and Washington D.C., with hopes of expanding the second opinion program throughout the next year.
Patients or caregivers can access this care by filling out the online form. The Penn team will then be in touch with next steps once the patients’ documentation is received via a secure cloud-based system. Next, patients who wish to seek care at Penn Medicine will be connected with the appropriate team for treatment.
Penn Medicine is a pioneer in telemedicine, having opened one of the country’s first teleICU programs over a decade ago. Since then, the health system has rapidly expanded its telemedicine services, creating a team dedicated to using the power of connected care for patients. Penn Medicine provides a growing array of telemedical specialty services through Penn Medicine Connected Care in fields such as transplant, dermatology, ophthalmology, radiology, adolescent and young adult medicine, sleep medicine, and complex neurological conditions. Other telemedical specialty services include post-operative surgical visits in various specialties and veteran’s mental health services. These programs allow Penn clinicians to reach patients at a regional, national, and international level, many of whom would not otherwise be able to visit the Penn Medicine campus.
“Telemedicine has elevated care options, providing a seamless experience for patients—particularly for those who need to travel long distances or have trouble traveling for appointments,” Brem said. “Programs like this empower patients and caregivers in the decision-making process. Through second opinions for brain tumor, we’re looking forward to connecting with patients through their local care team to help bring the best medical care possible to patients, regardless of where they live.”
Penn Medicine is one of the world’s leading academic medical centers, dedicated to the related missions of medical education, biomedical research, and excellence in patient care. Penn Medicine consists of the Raymond and Ruth Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania (founded in 1765 as the nation’s first medical school) and the University of Pennsylvania Health System, which together form a $8.9 billion enterprise.
The Perelman School of Medicine has been ranked among the top medical schools in the United States for more than 20 years, according to U.S. News & World Report's survey of research-oriented medical schools. The School is consistently among the nation's top recipients of funding from the National Institutes of Health, with $496 million awarded in the 2020 fiscal year.
The University of Pennsylvania Health System’s patient care facilities include: the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and Penn Presbyterian Medical Center—which are recognized as one of the nation’s top “Honor Roll” hospitals by U.S. News & World Report—Chester County Hospital; Lancaster General Health; Penn Medicine Princeton Health; and Pennsylvania Hospital, the nation’s first hospital, founded in 1751. Additional facilities and enterprises include Good Shepherd Penn Partners, Penn Medicine at Home, Lancaster Behavioral Health Hospital, and Princeton House Behavioral Health, among others.
Penn Medicine is powered by a talented and dedicated workforce of more than 44,000 people. The organization also has alliances with top community health systems across both Southeastern Pennsylvania and Southern New Jersey, creating more options for patients no matter where they live.
Penn Medicine is committed to improving lives and health through a variety of community-based programs and activities. In fiscal year 2020, Penn Medicine provided more than $563 million to benefit our community.