Patients with cancer living in regional and rural Victoria experience lower five-year survival rates than those living in metropolitan areas. In addition, less than a third of patients recruited to a Victorian clinical trial live in a regional or rural area.

Clinical trial participation can extend and improve a patient’s quality-of-life. Trials provide patients with the opportunity to access new treatments, therapies and technologies. However, regional patients face several barriers to access clinical trials, including time, cost and social disruption.

Delivering clinical trials in regional locations

Tele-oncology models of care have been demonstrated to improve the delivery of specialist health care to rural and regional patients, including the administration of sometimes complex chemotherapy. Teletrials are an innovative patient centred model of care that build on existing tele-oncology models.

A teletrial allows a clinician at a larger centre (primary site) to enrol, consent and treat patients on clinical trials in partnership with smaller regional and rural centres (satellite sites), allowing patients to participate closer to home. This group of sites operating under the teletrial model is called a teletrial cluster. 

Developing a framework for Victoria

The VCCC Alliance Teletrials Program has incorporated expertise from the Parkville Cancer Clinical Trials Unit (PCCTU) to develop a framework for Victorian institutions, applying the principles of the Australasian Tele-trials Model, developed by the Clinical Oncology Society of Australia (COSA) and Queensland Health Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs).

To assist Victorian institutions clinical research sites to meet their regulatory and legal requirements, including Good Clinical Practice (GCP) requirements, several SOPs have been developed.

The SOPs are intended to be incorporated into current SOPs that an institute may have in place. These SOPs should be used as a guide only and be adapted, adopted and version controlled by the HREC Office (or Quality Management department) of the institute to ensure where possible, standard application across the entire organisation.

Standard Operating Procedures

The SOPs are provided to assist with implementing legislation, regulations and guidelines for conducting clinical research.

Relevant staff should be made aware of the SOPs and the institutional policy regarding adherence. It is up to institutional policy to determine and keep written records of local training requirements.

Contact and implementation information

For information concerning implementation of the VCCC Alliance Teletrials Program, contact Jessica Freeman, Manager: Regional Programs & Partnerships.

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