Best practice in the implementation of telehealth-based supportive cancer care: Using research evidence and discipline-based guidance

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Patient Educ Couns. 2021 Apr 15:S0738-3991(21)00244-5. doi: 10.1016/j.pec.2021.04.006. Online ahead of print.


OBJECTIVE: To investigate what factors need consideration for telehealth services for cancer supportive care, given the rapid transition to telehealth as a result of COVID-19.

METHODS: A scoping review and a review of current guidance and guidelines provided by professional bodies, representing relevant discipline groups for cancer supportive care, were conducted.

RESULTS: We identified 19 papers and 23 telehealth guidance documents. The results highlight how the characteristics of patient group and healthcare provider influence the acceptability and utility of the service and establish a minimum set of preconditions. The reviews primarily examined patient-focused difficulties or issues with acceptability and efficacy, with only a minority highlighting how provider issues might also be implicated. By contrast, the guidance and guidelines described a need to address skills gaps in providing and receiving support through telehealth.

CONCLUSION: The capacity and willingness of services to adapt, in the context of COVID-19, is reassuring. It is important that the impact of the move to telehealth on service quality is assessed and systems put in place to ensure sustainability, acceptability, and adaptability.

PRACTICE IMPLICATIONS: Key recommendations can be made to assist service telehealth optimisation, many of which apply irrespective of the specific service focus.

PMID:33926809 | DOI:10.1016/j.pec.2021.04.006