What is a teletrial?
A teletrial is where hospitals - regional, rural or city - share a clinical trial and work together to deliver it to their patients all at the same time.
This means, for example, you may be on the same trial at your local hospital at the same time as someone 200km away at their local hospital.
The entire medical team involved in the one trial use digital communication, such as video conferencing, to closely communicate with each other as one big team.
This means you may now have more opportunities to go on a clinical trial at your nearest hospital.
How does it work?
There are many staff and researchers involved in a teletrial. The roles and responsibilities at each hospital are divided up and allocated between each hospital.
They are in close contact with each other through digital communication and work together as one big team. This means you are able to have most, if not all, of your treatment and appointments at your local hospital.
Depending on the complexity of your teletrial, you may have to travel to one of the other hospitals from time-to-time for certain things such as speciality scans or blood tests.
Will all trials at my local hospital be a teletrial?
No, it depends on the technical complexity of the trial. Some will be and some won’t be. You can ask your doctor about whether there are any clinical trials suitable for you at your nearby hospital, and whether any of these are running as teletrials.
Will I notice a difference if I’m on a teletrial?
There will be no difference to your care or the way the trial is conducted at your local hospital. Most of your appointments will be at your local hospital, unless you are required to travel to another hospital for something else.
Ask your team at the beginning what your appointments might look like so you can plan ahead.
What’s the difference between a teletrial and telehealth?
You are probably now very familiar with telehealth through COVID-19 and having your appointments, such as GP or allied health, at home via phone or video.
The ‘tele’ in teletrials refers to the digital communication between your local team and the teams at other hospitals. Your appointments will still be onsite at your local hospital, but you may join video consultations between your team and staff at the other hospitals.
Do I need the latest digital technology at home?
No, your appointments will be face-to-face at your local hospital. You won’t have video appointments at home as part of a teletrial.
Is it safe?
Australian teletrials and clinical trials have some of the strongest guidelines in the world and are tightly regulated.
They run under strict protocols and participants must first pass eligibility criteria, after which they are closely monitored.