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Teleradiotherapy network: applications and feasibility for providing cost-effective comprehensive radiotherapy care in low- and middle-income group countries for cancer patients


Datta, Niloy Ranjan; Heuser, Michael; Samiei, Massoud; Shah, Ragesh; Lutters, Gerd; Bodis, Stephan (2015). Teleradiotherapy network: applications and feasibility for providing cost-effective comprehensive radiotherapy care in low- and middle-income group countries for cancer patients. Telemedicine Journal and E-Health, 21(7):523-532.

Abstract

Globally, new cancer cases will rise by 57% within the next two decades, with the majority in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Consequently, a steep increase of about 40% in cancer deaths is expected there, mainly because of lack of treatment facilities, especially radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is required for more than 50% of patients, but the capital cost for equipment often deters establishment of such facilities in LMICs. Presently, of the 139 LMICs, 55 do not even have a radiotherapy facility, whereas the remaining 84 have a deficit of 61.4% of their required radiotherapy units. Networking between centers could enhance the effectiveness and reach of existing radiotherapy in LMICs. A teleradiotherapy network could enable centers to share and optimally utilize their resources, both infrastructure and staffing. This could be in the form of a three-tier radiotherapy service consisting of primary, secondary, and tertiary radiotherapy centers interlinked through a network. The concept has been adopted in some LMICs and could also be used as a "service provider model," thereby reducing the investments to set up such a network. Teleradiotherapy networks could be a part of the multipronged approach to address the enormous gap in radiotherapy services in a cost-effective manner and to support better accessibility to radiotherapy facilities, especially for LMICs.

Abstract

Globally, new cancer cases will rise by 57% within the next two decades, with the majority in the low- and middle-income countries (LMICs). Consequently, a steep increase of about 40% in cancer deaths is expected there, mainly because of lack of treatment facilities, especially radiotherapy. Radiotherapy is required for more than 50% of patients, but the capital cost for equipment often deters establishment of such facilities in LMICs. Presently, of the 139 LMICs, 55 do not even have a radiotherapy facility, whereas the remaining 84 have a deficit of 61.4% of their required radiotherapy units. Networking between centers could enhance the effectiveness and reach of existing radiotherapy in LMICs. A teleradiotherapy network could enable centers to share and optimally utilize their resources, both infrastructure and staffing. This could be in the form of a three-tier radiotherapy service consisting of primary, secondary, and tertiary radiotherapy centers interlinked through a network. The concept has been adopted in some LMICs and could also be used as a "service provider model," thereby reducing the investments to set up such a network. Teleradiotherapy networks could be a part of the multipronged approach to address the enormous gap in radiotherapy services in a cost-effective manner and to support better accessibility to radiotherapy facilities, especially for LMICs.

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5 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:04 Faculty of Medicine > University Hospital Zurich > Clinic for Radiation Oncology
Dewey Decimal Classification:610 Medicine & health
Language:English
Date:July 2015
Deposited On:12 Jan 2016 13:10
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 19:51
Publisher:Mary Ann Liebert
ISSN:1530-5627
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1089/tmj.2014.0154
PubMed ID:25763906

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