Telehealth in radiation oncology at the Townsville Cancer Centre: service evaluation and patient satisfaction

Hamilton, Elizabeth, Van Veldhuizen, Ellie, Brown, Amy, Brennan, Sean, and Sabesan, Sabe (2019) Telehealth in radiation oncology at the Townsville Cancer Centre: service evaluation and patient satisfaction. Clinical and Translational Radiation Oncology, 15. pp. 20-25.

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Purpose: Telehealth (TH) in Radiation Oncology at Townsville Cancer Centre (TCC) was implemented in July 2011 to provide cancer care closer to home to the regional and rural population. The aim of this study was to describe the service use and patient satisfaction.

Materials and methods: A retrospective audit of records was conducted for patients treated at TCC between July 2011 and December 2015. Data included patient demographics, diagnosis and treatment. Results of a patient satisfaction survey were summarised through descriptive statistics.

Results: A total of 1530 TH consultations were provided to 833 patients. 311 patient charts were audited (615 TH, 650 in-person, 151 phone consultations). Median distance from TCC to satellites was 327.3 km (21.6 to 1130.1). 71% were male and median age was 65 (23–94 years). Cancer diagnoses included prostate (32%), breast (12%) and head and neck (10%). 60% of patients underwent radiation therapy for curative intent, 22% palliative and 18% did not undergo treatment. 106 patients participated in the satisfaction survey (231 patients invited, response rate of 46%), with the overall positive response mainly attributed to advantages in travel and time savings. 54.7% of patients selected TH as their preference for future consultations, 34.9% indicated a mix of TH and in-person consultations, and only 1 patient (0.9%) indicating in-person only.

Conclusion: TH enables the delivery of radiation oncology consultations to rural and regional patients, with an overall high level of patient satisfaction. Patients welcomed the model for benefits of travel and time savings. Future directions include engaging with specialist, rural medical staff and patients to maximize access.

Item ID: 61881
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2405-6308
Keywords: Patient care, Patient satisfaction, Radiation oncology, Telemedicine
Copyright Information: © 2018 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. on behalf of European Society for Radiotherapy and Oncology. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (
Date Deposited: 19 May 2020 01:59
FoR Codes: 32 BIOMEDICAL AND CLINICAL SCIENCES > 3211 Oncology and carcinogenesis > 321110 Radiation therapy @ 50%
42 HEALTH SCIENCES > 4203 Health services and systems > 420302 Digital health @ 50%
SEO Codes: 92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920204 Evaluation of Health Outcomes @ 50%
92 HEALTH > 9202 Health and Support Services > 920203 Diagnostic Methods @ 50%
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