About the Virtual Tumor Boards
Overview: Teaming up to improve cancer outcomes
Imagine a team of doctors and cancer specialists from hospitals across Northern California meeting on a regular basis to plan treatment strategies for your loved one’s cancer.
“Virtual tumor boards” allow UC Davis Cancer Care Network physicians to do just that. These group discussions involve a variety of medical specialists from UC Davis and network cancer centers, who come together to discuss the best treatments for individual patients in their care.
Each cancer case is different, and most cancers can be treated in a variety of ways. Tumor boards allow physicians to:
- Draw on experiences with their own patients
- Tap specific or unique expertise of different members of the care team
- Explore many options for clinical therapies, and
- Continuously expand their knowledge base and refine their expertise to advance care.
Patients benefit from the collective experience of several specialists and the research prowess of a nationally renowned academic medical center. Along the way, they gain improved opportunities for remission or cure.
The American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer — a national medical accreditation body — recognizes tumor boards as an essential component of excellence in cancer care.
How it works: Multidisciplinary teams
The Virtual Tumor Board Project links specialists at UC Davis Cancer Care Network cancer centers with state-of-the-art telemedicine technology. Each member site is equipped with advanced videoconferencing equipment that allows physicians to present cancer cases in detail to their peers.
The equipment projects the presenting physician’s image and voice, along with detailed images — such as pathology slides or radiological scans — about a particular patient’s cancer. The high-definition images and sound run through encrypted Web-based technology, ensuring both maximum security and optimum quality.
The multidisciplinary teams involved in Cancer Care Network patient care meet via this real-time videoconferencing, share their medical knowledge and agree on the best treatment plans. Patients then receive care in their own communities and from their own physicians.
UC Davis’ telemedicine program has conducted more than 20,000 telehealth consultations since 1996, offering more than 40 medical specialties not available in smaller communities.
Leadership: Dedicated to quality of life for patients
The founder of the Virtual Tumor Board Project is Dr. Frederick Meyers, an internationally known hematology and oncology researcher. Meyers pioneered the hospice movement within the academic setting and advanced a model of cancer care for the terminally ill that is focused on improving quality of life.
Meyers guides a team of physicians, researchers, operations managers, technology experts and clinical trials navigators who are committed to quality cancer care in community settings.
The UC Davis Center for Health and Technology selected the network’s telemedicine technology. The center is known nationally for excellence, and was selected by the federal government to build and lead a national-model telehealth network that will link hundreds of hospitals and health centers around California.
UC Davis Health System launched the Virtual Tumor Board project with major funding from Blue Shield of California Foundation and support from Cancer Care Network sites.
Contact us to find out more:
To learn more about virtual tumor boards, contact:
Jack Blake, technical contact
UC Davis Cancer Care Network
Kay Harse, RN, Manager
UC Davis Cancer Care Network