NYLON – A cross-disciplinary team from the University of Rochester is partnering with the Livingston County Department of Health, Tri-County Family Medicine, Noyes Health and local cancer survivors to an online portal to connect patients, survivors, family caregivers, and health care providers in the community.
According to a press release from the U of R Medical Center, this elite group is creating an online portal to connect patients, survivors, family caregivers, and health care providers in the community. The goal of developing this Virtual Rural Oncology Community (V-ROC) is to improve communication and decision-making about treatment options, support and other needs that arise after initial cancer treatment ends.
“Cancer care is increasingly complex, and it can be overwhelming to make decisions about your treatment,” said Katia Noyes, Ph.D., MPH, professor of Surgery and Public Health Sciences, who is leading the project. “As a patient, you are an important member of your care team and have the right to discuss your options, understand their implications and decide what is best for you. Physicians expect you to do this, and our project is aimed at providing resources and information to help you make those decisions. We are excited to work with our partners in Livingston County to ensure that we are designing a resource that truly meets the unique needs of rural communities.”
On average, 350 people in Livingston County are diagnosed with cancer each year. As early detection and treatment have continued to improve, more people are surviving cancer than ever before, but they face new physical and emotional challenges that need special attention. Those challenges include watching for signs and symptoms of cancer recurrence, coordinating appointments with many providers including those outside the
region, managing long-term effects of cancer treatment and addressing concerns such as nutrition, pain, sleep, anxiety and depression.
“People who live in rural areas, such as Livingston County, face unique barriers regarding cancer-related resources,” said Jennifer Rodriguez, Livingston County’s Public Health Director. “Creation of a Virtual Rural Oncology Community is needed, especially in our area. It will benefit individuals, families, caregivers and healthcare providers.”
Amy Pollard, CEO of Noyes Health, reiterated that V-ROC will make the treatment process as convenient and comfortable as possible for patients and their families.
“The Ann and Carl Myers Cancer Center in Dansville will provide cancer care to the residents in our region,” said Amy Pollard, CEO of Noyes Health. “The added benefit from the V-ROC project assures that patients and their families receive information and support in the convenience of their own home.”
In addition to empowering patients and survivors, this project aims to develop training and materials for rural health care providers who see many patients with a history of cancer. The University of Rochester School of Nursing’s Center for Lifelong Learning, Tri-County Family Medicine, Wilmot Cancer Institute Dansville and Irfan A. Rizvi, M.D., a clinical assistant professor of colorectal surgery, are also partners in the V-ROC
project to help address these needs.
Katia Noyes received a Eugene Washington PCORI Engagement Award for $300,000 over two years from the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute (PCORI) to support this project. The funding will be used to pilot the V-ROC project in Livingston
County and design ways to introduce it to other rural communities.
PCORI is an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress in 2010 to fund comparative effectiveness research that will provide patients, their caregivers, and clinicians with the evidence needed to make better-informed health and healthcare decisions. PCORI is committed to seeking input from a broad range of stakeholders to guide its work.