A shared cancer follow-up model of care between general practitioners and radiation oncologists for patients with breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer: Protocol for a mixed methods implementation study

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JMIR Research Protocols


Background: The rising incidence of cancer and increasing numbers of cancer survivors have resulted in the need to find alternative models of care for cancer follow-up care. The acceptability for follow-up care in general practice is growing, and acceptance increases with shared-care models where oncologists continue to oversee the care. However, a major barrier to this model is the effective exchange of information in real time between oncologists and general practitioners. Improved communication technology plays an important role in the acceptability and feasibility of shared cancer follow-up care. Objective: The aim of this study is to evaluate the feasibility and acceptability of a shared cancer follow-up model of care between patients, general practitioners and radiation oncologists. Methods: This is a mixed methods, multisite implementation study exploring shared follow-up care for breast, colorectal, and prostate cancer patients treated with curative radiotherapy in New South Wales, Australia. This study uses web-based technology to support general practitioners in performing some aspects of routine radiotherapy follow-up care, while being overseen by a radiation oncologist in real time. The study has two phases: Phase 1 is designed to establish the level of agreement between general practitioners and radiation oncologists and Phase 2 is designed to implement shared follow-up care into practice and to evaluate this implementation. Results: Recruitment of radiation oncologists, patients, and general practitioners commenced in December 2020 and will continue until February 2021. Data collection will occur during 2021, and data will be ready for analysis by the end of 2021. Conclusions: Few studies have investigated the role of health technologies in supporting communication deficiencies for shared cancer follow-up care. The implementation and evaluation of models of care need to be conducted using a person-centered approach that is responsive to patients’ preferences and needs. Should the findings of the study be acceptable and feasible to radiation oncologists, general practitioners, and patients, it can be quickly implemented and expanded to other tumor groups or to medical oncology and hematology.

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