Telemedicine for rural cancer care in North Queensland: bringing cancer care home

Sabesan, Sabe, Larkins, Sarah, Evans, Rebecca, Varma, Suresh, Andrews, Athena, Beuttner, Petra, Brennan, Sean, and Young, Michael (2012) Telemedicine for rural cancer care in North Queensland: bringing cancer care home. Australian Journal of Rural Health, 20 (5). pp. 259-264.

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Abstract

Objective: To describe the use of telemedicine in cancer care (teleoncology model of care) for rural patients in North Queensland.

Design: This is a descriptive study. Data on demographical and clinical factors were retrieved from the teleoncology database of Townsville Hospital and review of medical records for the period between May 2007 and May 2011.

Setting and Participants: The medical oncologists at the Townsville Cancer Centre, a regional cancer centre in North Queensland, have been providing their services to rural hospitals in Townsville and Mt Isa districts via videoconferencing since 2007.

Intervention: Cancer care delivery to rural sites via Townsville teleoncology model. Main Outcome Measures: The ability of the teleoncology model to provide the following services to rural towns: (i) specialist consultations; (ii) urgent specialist medical care; (iii) care for Indigenous patients; and (iv) remote supervision of chemotherapy administration.

Results: Between May 2007 and May 2011, 158 patients from 18 rural towns received a total of 745 consultations. Ten of these patients were consulted urgently and treatment plans initiated locally, avoiding interhospital transfers. Eighteen Indigenous patients received consultative services, being accompanied by more than four to six family members. Eighty-three patients received a range of intravenous and oral chemotherapy regimens in Mt Isa and oral agents in other towns through remote supervision by medical oncologists from Townsville.

Conclusion: Teleoncology model of care allows rural and Indigenous cancer patients to receive specialist consultations and chemotherapy treatments closer to home, thus minimising the access difficulties faced by the rural sector.

Item ID: 23813
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: access, indigenous health, model of rural services, oncology, rural health, teleoncology, telemedicine
ISSN: 1038-5282
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2012 05:26
FoR Codes: 11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111701 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health @ 25%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1117 Public Health and Health Services > 111717 Primary Health Care @ 25%
11 MEDICAL AND HEALTH SCIENCES > 1112 Oncology and Carcinogenesis > 111204 Cancer Therapy (excl Chemotherapy and Radiation Therapy) @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920208 Health Inequalities @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9205 Specific Population Health (excl. Indigenous Health) > 920506 Rural Health @ 40%
92 HEALTH > 9203 Indigenous Health > 920303 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health - Health System Performance (incl. Effectiveness of Interventions) @ 20%
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