Background: Tumor board (TB) conferences facilitate multidisciplinary cancer care and are associated with overall improved outcomes. Because of shortages of the oncology workforce and limited access to TB conferences, multidisciplinary care is not available at every institution. This pilot study assessed the feasibility and acceptance of using telemedicine to implement a virtual TB (VTB) program within a regional healthcare network. Materials and Methods: The VTB program was implemented through videoconference technology and electronic medical records between the Houston (TX) Veterans Affairs Medical Center (VAMC) (referral center) and the New Orleans (LA) VAMC (referring center). Feasibility was assessed as the proportion of completed VTB encounters, rate of technological failures/mishaps, and presentation duration. Validated surveys for confidence and satisfaction were administered to 36 TB participants to assess acceptance (1-5 point Likert scale). Secondary outcomes included preliminary data on VTB utilization and its effectiveness in providing access to quality cancer care within the region. Results: Ninety TB case presentations occurred during the study period, of which 14 (15%) were VTB cases. Although one VTB encounter had a technical mishap during presentation, all scheduled encounters were completed (100% completion rate). Case presentations took longer for VTB than for regular TB cases (p=0.0004). However, VTB was highly accepted with mean scores for satisfaction and confidence of 4.6. Utilization rate of VTB was 75%, and its effectiveness was equivalent to that observed for non-VTB cases. Conclusions: Implementation of VTB is feasible and highly accepted by its participants. Future studies should focus on widespread implementation and validating the effectiveness of this model.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Medicine
- Health Informatics
- Health Information Management