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Chumbler NR, Kobb R, Richardson LC, Todd C, McCarthy WC, Lodge R, Demanuel L, Morris K, Bradley J. Advancing Cancer Care Through Technology & Care Coordination. Paper presented at: VA Care Coordination and Telehealth Leadership Annual Forum; 2004 Feb 17; Tampa, FL.
The Veterans Health Administration (VHA), building on its experience with the use of technology in home care collaborated with the National Cancer Institute (NCI) to develop and test an evidence-based model for home-telehealth with cancer patients. Cancer is the second leading cause of death in the U.S. The 1998 incidence rate for all cancers in the US population was 471 per 100,000. Given this incidence rate and the aging of the US population, the total number of cancer cases is not only expected to increase substantially over the next 50 years, but the number of individuals surviving cancer will escalate as well. These events will challenge health care organizations and policy makers to provide accessible, cost-effective services for cancer survivors as well as decision support to these people. This demonstration project used home telehealth technology to monitor patients between chemotherapy treatments to improve symptom management and quality of life. Preliminary data from 24 veterans with cancer, most of who suffer from either lung or head and neck cancer and are being monitored for at least six months, suggests that an effective model of cancer care management may be applied to patients with various types of cancer.