Framework for improving governance and quality of rural oncology outreach services

Belinda O'Sullivan, Melissa Loorham, Leanne Anderson, Ilana Solo, Mwila Kabwe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


PURPOSE Rural outreach is a common method for delivering oncology services closer to rural residents; however, there is no clear service framework for supporting its quality and governance. This work aimed to develop an agreed framework for improving the governance and quality of a rural oncology outreach service. METHODS A Six Sigma and participatory action approach was used. Key clinicians and managers identified project goals and scope, participated in several rounds of interviews and medical record audits, and discussed findings to reach consensus about a framework for quality outreach service delivery from one regional cancer center supporting two rural hospital sites (5-chair nurse-led oncology units). RESULTS Themes included strong investment by stakeholders in maintaining the outreach service for its importance for rural populations. The referral, treatment, and clinical governance processes were implicitly understood between stakeholders but not well documented. Medical record audits of treated patients identified important gaps in clinical information at rural sites. Through reflection and discussion, consensus was reached about a framework for quality service delivery. The participatory action planning cycle involving sites in regular discussions fostered information sharing, strong engagement, and uptake of the final framework. CONCLUSION The framework was applied to a memorandum of understanding for planning, governance, and outcomes monitoring and provides a basis for developing new and benchmarking existing oncology outreach services.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e630-e635
Number of pages6
JournalJCO Oncology Practice
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2020

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