Presenter: Michelle A. Worst, PharmD, BCOP, MBA, Director of Clinical Strategy, Hematology/Oncology, Medscape Oncology
Co-Authors: Haleh Kadkhoda, MS, Executive Director, Strategic Accounts, Medscape Oncology; Jacob Cohen, Manager, Outcomes, Medscape Oncology
BACKGROUND: Ten years after their introduction, immune checkpoint inhibitors are widely used across a variety of tumor types, including melanoma, lung cancer, head and neck cancers, bladder cancer, hepatocellular carcinoma, and renal-cell carcinoma. Within these tumor types, immune checkpoint inhibitors have demonstrated an extension of patient survival. The success of these agents also introduces significant challenges in terms of the role of biomarkers, integration of emerging data into clinical practice, and the identification and management of immune-related adverse events.
OBJECTIVE: To determine if an online continuing education (CE) curriculum consisting of a series of online, video-recorded discussions, developed through the collaboration between Medscape Oncology and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer (SITC), could improve pharmacists’ ability in managing patients with solid tumors who are receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors.
METHOD: The analysis used a repeated pairs pre-/post-test study design, in which each individual served as his or her own control. Overall improved learner was assessed from December 2020 to August 2021, by calculating the percentage of learners who gained knowledge or competence, as demonstrated by answering at least 1 more question correctly after CE participation than before. We compared pre- and postassessment scores to determine relative changes in the proportion of correct responses to knowledge or competence questions. McNemar’s chi-square test was used to assess the significance of improvements in knowledge, competence, and confidence.
RESULTS: Statistically significant improvements in knowledge, competence, and confidence were seen after education consumption among participating pharmacists. Pharmacists (N = 22 to 1632) improved their knowledge of immune checkpoint inhibitor mechanisms (P <.001) and clinical trial data (P <.001). The skills to identify patients eligible for immune checkpoint inhibitors also improved (P <.001). Finally, the confidence in using immune checkpoint inhibitors for the treatment of cancer improved (P <.001), as well as coordinating with the interprofessional team (P <.001). This education also resulted in 80% of the pharmacists experiencing an increase in or reinforcement of knowledge or competence from this CE.
CONCLUSION: The use of a series of online, video-recorded discussions was successful in improving the knowledge, competence, and confidence of pharmacists regarding the management of patients who are receiving immune checkpoint inhibitors across solid tumors. These results can translate to improvements in clinical care. We also identified the need for additional educational activities to address residual gaps and further increase pharmacists’ ability in this clinical setting.