Increasing access to cancer clinical trials for regional Victorians by reducing the burden to participation.
Cancer patients living in regional and rural Victoria experience several disadvantages including lower survival rates in some parts of the state. Reasons may include socioeconomic issues and access to treatment.
Barriers to clinical trial access, including time, cost and social disruption, are evident compared to patients living in Melbourne.
New approach to deliver benefits to regional communities
Teletrials provide an opportunity to overcome disparities; avoiding the need to travel, enabling access to new treatments and improving patient outcomes.
The Teletrials program will also address barriers to support mechanisms for regional oncologists, enabling networking and improving capability. In addition, the program will work with regional and metro cancer clinical trials staff to establish a clear framework for conducting a teletrial in a regional setting.
Building a teletrial process based on best practice
Our program applies the principles of the Australasian Tele-trials Model, developed by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA), in combination with Victorian governance, regulations and practical issues and will be independently audited.
Regional consumers will be consulted throughout the teletrial implementation. To begin, a trial cluster will be identified to include a metro site and at least two regional sites from the Victorian Regional Cancer Clinical Trials Network. Evaluation of the initial trial will provide insights for developing and implementing teletrials across regional Victoria.
Coordinating interventions and enabling regional clinicians
Implementing teletrials in regional areas will involve enabling regional clinicians, devolving responsibilities and implementing robust processes across the health system leading to an increased number of patients able to participate in trials.
Consultation with our cancer community has identified activities to increase capacity, focusing on:
- Stakeholder training and engagement
- Roles and responsibilities delegation, with metro support
- Governance, regulation agreements and standard operating procedures
Increasing trial participation and expanding knowledge
Teletrials are a key tool for reducing barriers, such as time, cost and social disruption, for regional patients’ access to cancer clinical trials.
Successful implementation of a teletrial model will also support the regional oncology workforce, activities will include:
- Continued support of VCCC Regional Oncology Leads
- Teletrials evaluation to inform ongoing design
- Test primary and satellite site use in teletrials, as well as complex cluster models
For information concerning implementation of the Teletrials program, contact Hannah Cross, Program Manager via email or phone 03 8559 7058.