Educational Outcomes in the Era of the Affordable Care Act: Impact of Personalized Education about Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer

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Abstract

Introduction:

The Affordable Care Act is moving medical care—and medical education—toward a quality-driven environment. Quality medical education must be available when the health care provider is ready to learn, provide feedback, and maximize translation of knowledge from desk to clinic. To best accomplish these goals, medical education must be personalized to clinicians’ needs. Research has defined multiple knowledge/performance gaps among oncologists who manage advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC). A study was conducted to determine the effectiveness with which a personalized learning approach for oncologists will diminish these gaps.

Methods:

The authors undertook development, online distribution, and impact measurement of an NSCLC curriculum in which learners’ responses to a preeducation self-assessment of knowledge, skills, and attitudes resulted in receipt of a personalized curriculum. Upon completion of the assessment, each learner received a personalized curriculum, which included up to 5 distinct activities selected to address identified knowledge and practice gaps. Feedback was provided at the completion of each activity.

Results:

Ninety-two oncologists completed an individualized learning plan. Analysis shows that completion of the learning plan was associated with a high effect size (d = .70). Significant increases were seen in oncologists’ ability to correctly identify the rationale for determining histological subtype (13% increase), prevalence of genetic abnormalities (21% increase, p = .04), appropriate use of maintenance therapy (31% increase, p = .01), and appropriate treatment regimens for squamous cell carcinoma (19% increase, p = .003) and of adenocarcinoma (44% increase, p < .001).

Discussion:

This study demonstrates the feasibility and impact of a personalized targeted curriculum for improving the competence of oncologists treating patients with advanced NSCLC.

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