Western region residents delaying or declining cancer treatment may be empowered to make the "best decisions" for themselves through a virtual visit to a long-awaited clinical facility in Dubbo.
The Western Cancer Centre Dubbo A Virtual Tour aims to ease the fear and anxiety of "leaving home and country" to access life-saving treatment at the yet-to-be built facility on the campus of Dubbo Hospital.
The virtual tour is the brainchild of the Western NSW Local Health District's change manager for the redevelopment of the hospital and construction of the cancer centre, Kerrie O'Neill, and Health Infrastructure's communications and engagement lead for the two projects, Belinda Berryman.
The women scored $11,900 at the health district's first PITCHit event to develop a mobile phone app offering the virtual tour.
The money, from sponsors of PITCHit, will be spent on a 360-degree video camera, cardboard virtual reality goggles and the services of a professional videographer and app developer.
Filming will take place as the cancer centre is completed at the end of 2020 with the app available when its doors open.
App users will be able to select a guide and what they want to see including the facility's wellness centre and treatment areas.
Questions such as "How do I get there? and "Will I be OK? will be answered.
The app will be free to download with health professionals in some rural and remote communities to be asked to help patients access the virtual tour.
Ms O'Neill and Ms Berryman pitched for money for the project after learning how "virtual reality can convince people they are somewhere they're not" from a speaker at a recent health symposium in Dubbo.
Ms Berryman said a "lot of people" in the region needed to travel for treatment.
"Sometimes they are not making the best decisions about treatment purely because of that leap of leaving home and country is so profound for them that they maybe delay treatment or they choose not to have any in some instances," she said.
Creators of about 45 projects sought PITCHit cash with the virtual tour among nine finalists.
Ms Berryman said it aimed to encourage a culture of research and innovation by supporting staff to launch or progress ideas, "no matter how big or small".