Extending Oncology Clinical Services to Rural Areas of Texas Via Teleoncology
+ Author Affiliations
- NexGen Oncology, Dallas; Blood and Cancer Center of East Texas, Tyler; and The University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, TX
- Corresponding author: Jivesh J. Sharma, MD, NexGen Oncology, 8440 Walnut Hill Lane, Ste 400, Dallas, TX 75231; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Purpose: For patients in rural Texas, accessing cancer specialists is quite challenging. Texas has many remote areas without community-based cancer care, requiring patients to travel long distances for specialized cancer professional consultations and services. An anticipated shortage of medical oncology expertise will exacerbate this situation. The advent of telemedicine tools has created an opportunity to easily extend specialized cancer services to underserved populations of patients with cancer in Texas. However, more research is needed to explore how well telemedicine tools will be accepted and used by both patients and oncologists alike. Data suggesting that teleoncology services are well accepted and liked by patients and health care professionals would provide a basis for expanding this method of delivering care. If effective, telemedicine tools could help patients with cancer in rural Texas, and throughout the United States, access the same quality of cancer care as their counterparts living in urban areas.
Methods: This pilot study will compare the effectiveness and reliability of remote oncologic clinical evaluations conducted via a telemedicine application with the traditional method of onsite evaluations in a private practice setting in rural East Texas. Patient and physician satisfaction with the clinical consultations and their perceptions of the telemedicine application will be assessed using a questionnaire administered at the conclusion of the clinical meetings.
Results: Initial results indicate high patient and physician satisfaction scores as well as high reliability and adequacy of the equipment and technology being used.
Conclusion: Both patients and physicians are highly satisfied with the quality of teleoncology examinations and express openness to this method of delivering care.