Apr 15, 2022
By Katherine H. Crawford, MA, PMP, ASCO Communications
Beginning in January, ASCO began including access to its ASCO Education Digital Courses to Full and Allied Physician/Doctoral Scientist members in addition to the other member benefits offered. The courses—Expert Answers, Oncology Topics, and Tumor Boards—are available for purchase by non-members and other member types that do not include access.
These newly redesigned courses provide timely information for real-world application and practice-changing care—the type of education and professional development resources that are needed throughout one’s career. They are focused, mobile, and designed to fit into a practitioner’s busy schedule.
“A modern oncology workforce is really overworked and sometimes wants information that is less a comprehensive covering of a subject and more a clinical query,” said ASCO Education Editorial Board editor-in-chief Marie Wood, MD. “To better meet the needs of ASCO members, we’ve designed point-of-care learning that is concise, multidisciplinary, and really digestible so professionals can find something that helps them with a specific patient and a specific clinical question.”
Courses Designed With Members in Mind
ASCO has recently overhauled the style in which it delivers its courses by limiting cognitive overload and focusing on application. The changes reflect the Society’s continuous enhancement of its educational offerings to make sure they’re getting members the right information, in the right format, and presenting it in the most effective way possible, as well as keeping members up to date on the latest science and best practices.
Expert Answers, ASCO’s newest course series, launched in August 2021 and features bite-sized education presented by experts through video and audio narration, with plenty of interactive activities for the learners.
The 15- to 20-minute courses are designed for practicing medical oncologists, who can earn continuing medical education (CME) credits for completing them. Each course is focused on a particular topic within a disease area. An expert discusses the patient case, explaining their thought process on why a particular treatment was selected over another, the research evidence, and patient and disease factors that influenced their decision.
“For each course, we’re taking a smaller concept, bringing the expert opinion to the patient case, focusing on a specific issue—one that may be controversial—and trying to help people figure out how to incorporate some of the newest information, data, and clinical trials into their practice,” explained Dr. Wood.
The 20- to 30-minute foundational courses, Oncology Topics, provide up-to-date training that’s beneficial for the entire oncology care team. The interactive courses in this series feature patient cases, patient-care resources, and interactive activities for learners to apply knowledge presented in the course. Topics span from fundamentals of chemotherapy, biologic therapy and immunotherapy to supportive care, oncologic emergencies, genomics, biostatistics, cultural literacy, and team-based care.
Multidisciplinary discussions of patient cases led by recognized experts in the topic area, the Tumor Boards have been updated to resemble a live tumor board more closely but in a virtual, on-demand format. These discussions also offer CME credit and feature medical oncologists, surgical oncologists, radiation oncologists, gynecologic oncologists, pathologists, and others from relevant specialty areas. Several recent tumor boards included perspectives from international members. Each tumor board features one or two patient cases and several discussion questions around key clinical decision points for that case. Members of the tumor board explain the factors they consider when making their treatment recommendations, including how they weigh pertinent research evidence and clinical guidelines, alongside clinical factors and patients’ goals and preferences. Controversial areas and scenarios where evidence is lacking are often discussed as well.
To access courses, visit ASCO Education and click on “My Dashboard” toward the top of the page or the “Login” button under an individual course’s title and description, or go directly to the course catalog and view the full list. Both options will take visitors to the ASCO Sign-In page where they can enter their individual ASCO username and password. Members will need to have an active ASCO membership in the categories of “Full” or “Allied Physician/Doctoral Scientist.” If membership lapses, the ability to access the courses for free will be removed, and it will be reinstated when membership is renewed/reactivated.
Three educational podcasts produced by ASCO’s Education, Science, and Professional Development Department—Cancer Topics, Social Determinants of Health, and Oncology, Etc.—remain free for everyone. ASCO’s Self-Evaluation Program (SEP), ASCO-SEP®, and the Question Bank are available for purchase and have a new, lower price that went into effect in January.