Advancing the Science

Mayo Clinic Medical Science Blog – an eclectic collection of research- and research education-related stories: feature stories, mini news bites, learning opportunities, profiles and more from Mayo Clinic.

May 28, 2019

Telerehabilitation improves quality of life for patients with late-stage cancers, reduces costs

By Elizabeth Zimmermann

A new study suggests that remotely delivering rehabilitation services to patients with late-stage cancer improves their physical function, pain and quality of life while allowing them to spend less time in hospitals and nursing homes.

The results of a randomized clinical trial with 516 participants, led by Andrea Cheville, M.D., a Mayo Clinic physical medicine and rehabilitation physician are reported in a recent Mayo Clinic news release. Dr. Cheville also is the medical director of the Care Experience Program within the Mayo Clinic Robert D. and Patricia E. Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery.

Study findings are published in JAMA Oncology. They were of such import for practice transformation, notes Dr. Cheville, that the journal also published what turned out as a complimentary invited commentary, "Collaborative Telerehabilitation – A Smart Move for Patients With Advanced Cancer."

Andrea Cheville, M.D.

Dr. Cheville says this trial, supported by the center's study design, data collection and research coordination experts, is an example of an innovative care option that meets patients where they are.

"Research drives everything we do for patients, and in this case, our evidence shows that we have a new way to improve the health care experience for our patients," she says. "And telerehabilitation appears to lead to lower health care costs too, reducing hospital and nursing home stays as well as in-person care visits."

Dr. Cheville's multi-institutional team was the first ever to study the use of telecare among complex and vulnerable patients with late stage cancers. "The model that we used is novel and scalable," she says, "and aligns with Mayo’s vision of increasing remote care delivery." 

The Mayo Clinic Kern Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery brings together unique capabilities, combining design methods, knowledge management, big data analysis, health care engineering principles and advanced simulations, to solve challenges for patients, providers and the health care system at large. The center’s goal is to translate discoveries into evidence-based, actionable treatments, processes and procedures.

Telerehabilitation research is one of the many ways Mayo Clinic extends knowledge and care to more people through innovative telemedicine platforms that improve access and outcomes for patients, and collaboration with other providers and researchers.

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Tags: Andrea Cheville, cancer, Center for the Science of Health Care Delivery, clinical trials, Findings, Innovations, Mayo Clinic Cancer Center, News, quality of life, telemedicine

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