Cancer patients in rural and remote communities are often disadvantaged if care is received in a tertiary metropolitan centre due to the distances travelled and the strain it can place on finances, jobs and families. To better understand these patients, an audit was done at the cancer centre at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital assessing management outcomes at the medical oncology outpatient clinics to better assess if there was a subset of patients who would be suitable for telehealth.
Patient data was extracted from TOPAS (The Open Patient Operating System) of all rural outpatient at SCGH from April 1st 2017 to June 30th 2017. Data collected from each patient included what type of treatment given (IV or oral), if they were on a clinical trial or on surveillance. Management outcomes was collected for all patients
There were 430 Medical Oncology appointments during the audit period. 56 were new patients and 374 were follow-ups. 173 appointments involved IV treatment (40%) - chemotherapy or immunotherapy) while 87 were on oral treatments (20%). 45 appointments occurred for clinical trial reasons. 102 appointments were on surveillance. 36% of these patients required other services not available near home e.g. PET, MRI or further specialist opinion
Approximately 28% of patients were on oral treatments or on surveillance that did not require a PET or MRI. These patients may be suitable for telehealth and therefore further planning is required. A large percentage received intravenous treatment – consideration for outreach cancer treatment centres may better cater for such patients.