Ontario Health – Person-Centred Virtual Cancer Care Clinical Guidance document

The Person-Centred Virtual Cancer Care Clinical Guidance document is now available.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly increased the use of virtual care in many areas, such as cancer care. During the first 7 months of the pandemic, virtual cancer care visits (including telephone or video appointments) increased from ~1-2% to 40-50%.

Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) identified an urgent need to develop practice recommendations and struck a panel of experts to develop clinical guidance for the virtual management of cancer patients. Using a modified Delphi process, with representation from across the spectrum of cancer care, virtual cancer care recommendations were created to guide oncology and allied health care providers. This guidance aligns with existing areas of evidence and contributes to emerging practice evidence, to address the gaps in published literature.

The Person-Centred Virtual Cancer Care Clinical Guidance document is a first step to guide the delivery of virtual cancer care as we recover from the impacts of the pandemic. It is our hope that through this guidance, cancer care providers will be supported in their transition to providing and optimizing virtual care, while maintaining the principles of person-centered care (English only). In addition, the lessons learned through developing the recommendations may help other health care providers to fill the virtual care evidence gap. The Ontario Health (Cancer Care Ontario) Program-in-Evidence-Based Care supported this work with an evidence review which can be found here (English only).

From the patients’ perspective: “As a patient who has had multiple virtual care appointments over the last year, it remains an essential tool in order for my care to move forward during the pandemic. I haven’t had to miss work, incur the costs associated with travel and the time to get to appointments. Collaborating on this guidance, to make sure that virtual care is used in appropriate circumstances and to improve the patient experience, is very fulfilling.” Mel A. (OH-CCO Patient/Family Advisor Virtual Cancer Care Expert Panel Member)

Please read and share this guidance with any relevant clinician caring for cancer patients and their care partners.

Have questions? Contact Naomi Peek and the Person-Centred Care team naomi.peek@ontariohealth.ca

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