Enhancing chemotherapy capabilities in rural hospitals: implementation of a telechemotherapy model (QReCS) in North Queensland, Australia

Sabesan, Sabe, Senko, Clare, Schmidt, Andrew, Joshi, Abhishek, Pandey, Ritwik, Ryan, Corrine A., Lyle, Megan, Rainey, Natalie, Varma, Suresh, Otty, Zulfiquer, Ansari, Zia, Vaughan, Kerrie, Vangaveti, Venkat, Black, Jason, and Brown, Amy (2018) Enhancing chemotherapy capabilities in rural hospitals: implementation of a telechemotherapy model (QReCS) in North Queensland, Australia. Journal of Oncology Practice, 14 (7). e429-e437.

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Introduction: The Queensland Remote Chemotherapy Supervision (QReCS) model enables rural nurses to administer chemotherapy in smaller rural towns under supervision by health professionals from larger centers using telehealth. Its implementation began in North Queensland, Australia (population, 650,000), in 2014 between two regional cancer centers (Townsville and Cairns as primary sites) and six rural sites (125 to 1,000 kilometers from primary sites). Our study examined the implementation processes, feasibility, and safety of this model.

Methods: Details of implementation and patients' clinical details for the period of 2014 to 2016 for descriptive analysis were extracted from telechemotherapy project notes and oncology information systems of North Queensland, respectively.

Results: After a successful pilot study in Townsville Cancer Centre, statewide rural and cancer networks of Queensland Health, in collaboration with clinicians and managers across the state of Queensland, developed the QReCS model and a guide for operationalizing it. QReCS was implemented at six sites from 2014 to 2016. Main enablers across North Queensland included collaboration among clinicians and managers, availability of common electronic medical records, funding from Queensland Health, and installation of telehealth infrastructure by statewide telehealth services. Main barriers included turnover of senior management and nursing staff at two rural towns. Sixty-two patients received 327 cycles of low- to medium-risk chemotherapy agents. Rates of treatment delays, adverse events, and hospital admissions were similar to those in face-to-face care.

Conclusion: Implementation of the QReCS model across a large geographic region is feasible with acceptable safety profiles. Leadership by and collaboration among clinicians and managers, adequacy of resources and common governance are key enablers.

Item ID: 54626
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1935-469X
Funders: Queensland Health
Date Deposited: 07 Aug 2018 02:54
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321105 Chemotherapy @ 80%
32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3202 Clinical sciences > 320224 Rural clinical health @ 20%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9201 Clinical Health (Organs, Diseases and Abnormal Conditions) > 920102 Cancer and Related Disorders @ 80%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920299 Health and Support Services not elsewhere classified @ 20%
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