- Expanded use of telehealth
- Changes to prevention and early detection
- Virtual multidisciplinary team meetings
- Modifications to treatment schedules
- Hypofractionated radiotherapy
- Oncology hospital in the home
- Responsive patient support
- Innovative care and hospital infrastructure models
- Shared follow-up and survivorship care
- Supportive and palliative care
- Cancer research and clinical trials
- Collaboration in the oncology sector and data sharing
Cancer Australia has undertaken an initiative to describe changes in cancer care prompted by the COVID-19 pandemic, and outline opportunities to retain, enhance, and embed high-value changes in cancer care during the pandemic recovery phases.
The COVID-19 pandemic has prompted unprecedented changes in cancer care across the cancer care pathway and in many parts of the oncology sector.
The approach to cancer care during the pandemic has required balancing the risk of exposure to, and harm from, SARS-Cov-2 infection against the benefits of treatment and the optimal use of health system resources while maximising patient outcomes.
Some new or modified healthcare practices will be of long-term value in improving quality and resilience in cancer care.
- elements of cancer care which have changed during the COVID-19 pandemic
- the impacts of these changes
- targeted strategies (at the system-level, service-level, practitioner-level, and patient-level) to retain, enhance, and embed high-value changes into practice.
This report is informed by:
- National and international literature
- Input and consensus from leading Australian cancer experts and consumer representatives.
Strategies to embed and enhance high-value care
COVID-19 Recovery: Implications for cancer care includes a number of targeted strategies to prompt considerations and future approaches to support high-value cancer care in the Recovery phases of the COVID-19 pandemic.
- System-level strategies involve activities at the health system level (national or jurisdictional) to identify and address system-wide cancer control needs, support high-value cancer care and improve outcomes for people with cancer
- Service-level strategies involve activities at the health service level (including specialist and primary care, in both the public and private sectors) to support high-value cancer care and improve outcomes for people with cancer
- Practitioner-level strategies involve activities by a range of cancer control stakeholders across the Australian health system to support health professionals to deliver high-value cancer care and improve outcomes for people with cancer
- Patient-level strategies involve activities directly affecting patients and consumer advocacy organisations to support high-value cancer care and improve outcomes for people with cancer.
Elements of cancer care which changed during the COVID-19 pandemic
Twelve elements of cancer care which changed during the COVID-19 pandemic have been identified: