Live Virtual Presentation Clinical Oncology Society of Australia Annual Scientific Meeting 2020

Telehealth in medical oncology (#110)

Sabe Sabesan 1
  1. Department of Medical Oncology, Townsville Cancer Centre, Townsville Hospital and Health Services, Townsville, QLD, Australia

Many telehealth models have been implemented around the world to enhance regional and rural access to medical oncology services closer to home. Examples include teleconsultation models, tele chemotherapy model (Queensland Remote Chemotherapy Supervision model) and recently teletrial models (Australasian Teletrial Model). Literature confirms positive patient and health professional satisfaction, safety of remote chemotherapy and biotherapy delivery, and cost effectiveness for patients and the health system1. In addition, telehealth models also help nurture rural capacity building through enhanced workforce capabilities and scope of practice because of collaboration between tertiary and rural sectors2. These models also provide an opportunity to educate patients and their family members on secondary and primary prevention and to supervise trainees and undergraduate students.  Some downsides are the inability to perform physical examination and difficulty undertaking end of life care discussions. The need for physical examination is usually addressed through health professionals at the rural end. This can be improved through the adoption of established frameworks3. 

  1. Sabesan S, Senko C, Schmidt A, Enhancing Chemotherapy Capabilities in Rural Hospitals: Implementation of a Tele-chemotherapy Model (QReCS) in North Queensland, Australia, Journal of Oncology Practice 2018,14(7): e429-e437 (DOI: 10.1200/JOP.18.00110)
  2. Sabe Sabesan, John Zalcberg, Craig Underhill et al, Implementation of the Australasian Teletrial Model: Lessons from practice, Asia-Pacific Journal of Clinical Oncology 2019;15(58):3-14
  3. Sabesan S & Tucker D, Doctor-patient communication and relationship in telehealth; MJA Insight 2020 (https://insightplus.mja.com.au/2020/18/doctor-patient-communication-and-relationship-in-telehealth/)