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NIH Awards $23M for telehealth oncology

The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health, has provided $23 million to four universities to develop cancer care telehealth centers as part of NCI’s Telehealth Research Centers of Excellence initiative.

Under the federal Cancer Moonshot initiative, TRACE aims at how best to use and sustain telehealth to provide cancer-related care.

There has been growing interest in how to enhance patient care experiences through the development of hybrid models that layer in virtual care opportunities like telehealth. Each center will study how telehealth supports cancer patients across a number of disciplines and factors.

“We need to establish an evidence base for using this technology to deliver health care in oncology and make it part of routine care. In addition, these centers will explore opportunities for scalability and dissemination of their cancer-related telehealth interventions beyond their own health systems,” Dr. Robin C. Vanderpool, chief of the Health Communication and Informatics Research Branch in NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, said in the announcement.

MSK explores telehealth for precision oncology

With its grant funding, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City is launching the Making Telehealth Delivery of Cancer Care at Home Effective and Safe Telehealth Research Center to support breast and prostate cancer patients receiving routine oncology care at home through telehealth and other strategies. 

The researchers will study the effectiveness of the hospital-at-home program to be called MSK@Home across its network of outpatient practices at reducing in-person visits, improving the patient experience, understanding clinicians’ experiences and tackling barriers to implementing telehealth in oncology.  

Social factors, shared decisions and reducing patient risks

The other awards focus on how telehealth can help cancer patients that are veterans, have lung cancer or need support to reduce cancer risk factors, like nicotine.

“We are awarding these centers of excellence to better understand how telehealth can contribute to improved health outcomes across the cancer care continuum,” said Katrina Goddard, director of NCI’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences, in a statement.

The other awards are:

The NYU Grossman School of Medicine in New York City will lead development of the Telehealth Research and Innovation for Veterans with Cancer Telehealth Research Center to work with the Veterans Health Administration to examine how social factors such as race and ethnicity, poverty and rural residence affect the delivery of telehealth for cancer care.

Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, will lead the Scalable Telehealth Cancer Care Center to focus on using telehealth to extend health services to cancer survivors to reduce risk behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity.

The University of Pennsylvania Telehealth Research Center of Excellence will focus on using communication science and behavioral economics to compare the effectiveness of multiple telehealth strategies on shared decision-making for lung cancer screening and to improve timely access to comprehensive molecular testing for advanced lung cancer.

“With this new grant from the NCI, we aim to develop a new paradigm in oncology – precision delivery – with the ultimate goal of matching individual patients with the most beneficial combination of clinic-based or telehealth-supported home-setting care at the appropriate time,” Dr. Michael J. Morris, medical oncologist and prostate cancer section head for genitourinary oncology at MSK said in a separate statement on the MSK website.

Andrea Fox is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Email: [email protected]

Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS publication.

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  • Posted on October 25, 2022