The Role of Telemedicine in Providing Thoracic Oncology Care to Remote Areas of British Columbia
Purpose of review
The purpose of this study is to review the role of telemedicine in providing oncology care; we describe our long-standing, high-volume telemedicine experience.
The Interior Health Thoracic Surgical Group (IHTSG) uses telemedicine, through Virtual Thoracic Surgical Clinics (VTSC), to provide service to remote patients. The IHTSG serves a population of 1.01 million people over an area of 807,538 km2 (1.3 persons/km2) in the Interior and North of British Columbia, Canada. Between 2003 and 2015, the IHTSG conducted 15,073 telemedicine patient encounters at 63 geographic sites. Telemedicine saved these patients a total travel distance of 11.5 million km—an average of 766 km per patient. VTSC supports and strengthens the Hub and Spoke model of healthcare delivery—patients residing remotely can easily access centrally delivered service.
Telemedicine makes specialized care available to all patients by overcoming a major impediment to access, namely distance.
KeywordsTelemedicine Rural Thoracic surgery Hub and Spoke model Oncology Patient care
Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance
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