NIH Awards $23 Million to Centers of Excellence to Study Telehealth Cancer Care

The National Cancer Institute (NCI), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), selected four academic institutions to award $23 million to establish centers of excellence to research delivery of cancer-related care through telehealth. The award is part of NCI’s Telehealth Research Center of Excellence (TRACE) initiative, and is supported by the Cancer Moonshot initiative, which was renewed in 2022 by President Biden.

The four awarded centers are led by academic institutions and will study the role that telehealth plays in cancer care from prevention to screening, diagnosis to treatment, and survivorship. The large clinical trials led by the institutions will cover hospitals, cancer centers, oncology practices, and primary care offices to mirror real-life settings as closely as possible. As part of the initiative, the centers will focus on identifying and addressing telehealth-related disparities among vulnerable populations, as well as training the next generation of telehealth-focused professionals.

The four centers and their areas of focus are as follows:

  • NYU Grossman School of Medicine’s Telehealth Research and Innovation for Veterans with Cancer (THRIVE) Telehealth Research Center: THRIVE will work with the Veterans Health Administration to examine how social factors such as race and ethnicity, poverty, and rural residence affect the delivery of telehealth for cancer care.
  • Northwestern University’s Scalable Telehealth Cancer Care (STELLAR) Center: STELLAR will focus on using telehealth to extend health services to cancer survivors to reduce risk behaviors such as smoking and physical inactivity.
  • The University of Pennsylvania Telehealth Research Center of Excellence (Penn TRACE): Penn TRACE will use communication science and behavioral economics to compare the effectiveness of multiple telehealth strategies on shared decision-making for lung cancer screening and to improve timely access to molecular testing for advanced lung cancer.
  • Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK)’s The Making Telehealth Delivery of Cancer Care at Home Effective and Safe (MATCHES) Telehealth Research Center: MATCHES will study the effectiveness of a remote monitoring system called MSK@Home for patients receiving systemic treatments for prostate and breast cancer.

The expansion of telehealth across specialties and the continued administrative support for virtual care signal that providers can consider telehealth modalities to improve patient care and enhance patient access. These improvement principles, along with a reduction of overall costs, are the cornerstones of value-based care models, which there is a shift to pursue in the healthcare industry.

If you are seeking to offer virtual care, Frier Levitt can help you navigate the regulatory framework for establishing a telemedicine or telehealth venture; or if you have already integrated telehealth programs into your practice, our attorneys can assist in guiding you to expand your current offerings while maintaining compliance. Contact Frier Levitt to learn more about how your practice can leverage telehealth services.