Effects of Teleoncology in Rural Australia

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Teleoncology is a branch of telemedicine that aims to provide quality and accessible cancer treatment to patients in rural areas. This case study will feature a cancer center in a rural town that provides oncology care services. A variety of services are offered, ranging from telepharmacy procedures to providing services through videoconference calls. A recent audit revealed that the quality of care provided did not meet standards for eliminating inpatient interhospital transfers between the oncology care center and the local health system. Additionally, the oncology care center did not fill the gap in care for cancer patients between those at the care center and the hospital. This necessitated a need for progression in the current teleoncology model utilized at the oncology care center. In a teleoncology care initiative taken by both the hospital and the oncology care center, the goal was to lessen the disparity and reduce the reduction of inter-hospital transfers was introduced. In order to make noticeable progress, increased use of prior and new implementations of telemedicine were applied to raise the quality of teleoncology care. The adjustment in care was introduced and applied over a course of time to see if the measures facilitated positive outcomes. It was demonstrated by the oncology care center that oncology care could be provided to rural patients as efficiently as in urban communities. Several additions and modifications were required to complement changes in teleoncology, and the change is dependent on the abilities of both the healthcare systems (rural and urban) and the patients. Quality and efficient cancer treatment in rural communities is both practical and sustainable with teleoncology and this case study presents the experience of an oncology care center in a rural area and its partnership with the local hospital system.

First Advisor

Jewel Goodman Shepherd

Second Advisor

Mary DeVany

Research Area

University Honors

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