Telehealth Lung Cancer Clinics: Specialized Oncology Services Closer to Home

T. Winton, C. Butts, H. Janzen, G. Cummings, M. Hoeber, C. King, T. Delorme, D. Allen, R. Scrimger, N. Graham, and D. Reinbold (Canada)


Lung cancer, access, telehealth, multidisciplinary clinic.


Lung cancer represents a health care delivery challenge, particularly for rural patients. A multi-region telehealth lung cancer triage clinic was initiated to serve rural patients in Central and North Eastern Alberta, Northwestern British Columbia, NWT and the Yukon. An average of four multidisciplinary clinicians from a tertiary cancer centre, a university hospital, and multiple outlying cancer clinics participated in each biweekly clinic. Over 300 patients were able to remain in their own communities, while expeditiously receiving optimal specialist driven investigation and medical care. This reduced the need for travel time, costs and the stress previously experienced by rural patients and their families in accessing care. This unique clinic ensured optimal utilization of available medical / technical resources at primary, secondary and tertiary sites, and significantly increased collaboration between primary care providers and specialists involved in the care of lung cancer patients. This telehealth clinic experience has documented the feasibility, effectiveness and value of this method of service delivery and was very well received by patients and their families. Future directions include refinement and formalization of referral processes, integration of telehealth technology and clinics into routine outpatient lung cancer specialty clinics and exploration of the potential to deliver similar services for other oncology patients such as those with breast cancer.

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