Development and evaluation of a novel online training platform for genomics education in cancer care; preparing cancer clinicians for “Generation Genome”


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Alice Coulson, Vishakha Tripathi, Emma Cox, Johann Malawana, Zeina Beydoun, Vanessa Reeve, Anju Kulkarni

Abstract

Background

Genomic testing in the UK is changing, with more cancer clinicians ordering genomic tests for patient care. These tests can inform treatment options, prognosis and future cancer risks, as well as inform risk-reduction and preventative options for family members. The UK Government has called for improved education to appropriately order and interpret cancer genomic tests to maximise patient benefit. Existing evidence highlights the benefits of online learning, as well as those of blended delivery approaches, and initiatives need to be scalable to the wider workforce. We developed an online platform (Nucleus) to address this need across for cancer healthcare professionals in our region.

Method

Collaborating with healthcare technology company, Medics.Academy, Nucleus was developed based on face-to-face cancer genomics education delivered at Guy’s Hospital. Scoping exercises, literature reviews and recommendations from national healthcare and governmental bodies identified target audiences, training needs and the utility of online training. Content was developed and reviewed by genetics clinicians. User testing data of an initial Nucleus module was collected. These results were considered alongside evaluation of face-to-face teaching to determine where online learning can be incorporated in local cancer genomics education strategy.

Results

Modules in basics of cancer genomics, cancer genomics susceptibility, and precision oncology (technological and clinical applications) have been developed. Podcasts and blogs are currently in development. Initial user testing has been very positive with users rating the platform as relevant to practice (=4.57/5), with appropriate length (=4.29/5) and pace (=4.14/5). Further analysis is needed of modules delivering more practical aspects of clinical genetics practice.

Conclusion

Nucleus can facilitate scalable cancer genomics education and is well-received by clinicians. Modules will be combined with face-to-face teaching in a blended learning course to be piloted in 2020. Subsequent expansion of further modules is planned over the next 18 months.

Impact statement

Nucleus can provide scalable, accessible and current genomics education to the large groups of cancer clinicians who will be increasingly responsible for ordering and interpreting genomic tests for patient and wider family management.