The National Cancer Institute, part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), has awarded $23 million to four academic institutions to establish centers of excellence that will conduct research on the role of telehealth in delivering cancer-related health care.
There has been growing interest in how to enhance patient care experiences through the development of hybrid models that layer in virtual care opportunities like telehealth. Each center will study how telehealth supports cancer patients across a number of disciplines and factors.
These are the four funded centers:
- The Telehealth Research and Innovation for Veterans with Cancer (THRIVE) Telehealth Research Center: Led by NYU Grossman School of Medicine, New York City, this center will work with the Veterans Health Administration to examine how social factors such as race and ethnicity, poverty, and rural residence affect the delivery of telehealth for cancer care.
- The Scalable Telehealth Cancer Care (STELLAR) Center: Led by Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill., this center will focus on using telehealth to extend health services to cancer survivors aimed at reducing risk behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity.
- The University of Pennsylvania Telehealth Research Center of Excellence (Penn TRACE): Led by the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, this center will use communication science and behavioral economics to compare the effectiveness of multiple telehealth strategies on shared decision-making for lung cancer screening and to improve timely access to comprehensive molecular testing for advanced lung cancer.
- The Making Telehealth Delivery of Cancer Care at Home Effective and Safe (MATCHES) Telehealth Research Center: Led by Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK), New York City, this center will study the effectiveness of a remote monitoring system called MSK@Home for patients receiving systemic treatments for prostate and breast cancer.
In addition to developing innovative ways to use telehealth in cancer care, the centers will focus on identifying and addressing telehealth-related disparities among vulnerable populations, including racial and ethnic groups, rural residents, older adults, people who are uninsured or low-income, people who are socially isolated, and people who have limited digital literacy. All four centers are also committed to training the next generation of telehealth-focused researchers.