Increasing access to cancer clinical trials for regional Victorians by reducing the barriers 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 trials, including time, cost and social disruption, are evident compared to patients living in Melbourne.

New approach to deliver benefits to regional communities

Teletrials are an opportunity to overcome disparities; avoiding the need to travel, enabling access to new treatments and improving patient outcomes.

The Teletrials Program also addresses barriers to support mechanisms for regional oncologists, enabling networking and improving capability. In addition, the program works with regional and metro cancer clinical trials staff to establish a clear framework for conducting a teletrial in a regional setting.

A teletrial process built on best practice

The VCCC Teletrial 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 have been consulted throughout the teletrial implementation and will continue to take part in evaluation and recommendations.

Working with the Victorian Regional Cancer Clinical Trials Network, a trial cluster was identified to include a metro site and two regional sites. Evaluation of this initial trial will provide insights for progressing and implementing teletrials across regional Victoria.

Coordinating interventions and enabling regional clinicians

Implementing teletrials in regional areas involves 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 supports the regional oncology workforce, activities include:

  • Continued support of VCCC Regional Oncology Leads
  • Teletrials evaluation to inform ongoing design
  • Evaluation of primary and satellite site use in teletrials, as well as complex cluster models

Contact and implementation information

For information concerning implementation of the VCCC Teletrials Program, contact Program Manager, Alana Donaldson via email or phone 03 8559 7058.