Longitudinal Remote SBRT/SRS Training in Latin America: A Prospective Cohort Study
Sarria GR, Timmerman R, Hermansen M, Malhotra SH, Chang B, Carter RD, Martinez DA, Garcia B, Sarria GJ, Giordano FA, Chetty IJ, Roa DE, and Li B. Longitudinal Remote SBRT/SRS Training in Latin America: A Prospective Cohort Study. Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys 2021; 111(3):e192-e193.
Int J Radiat Oncol Biol Phys
Purpose/Objective(s): Opportunities for long-term clinical training in stereotactic technology are scarcely available or accessible. We report the results of upscaling a longitudinal telehealth training course on stereotactic body radiation therapy (SBRT) and stereotactic radiosurgery (SRS) for clinicians in Latin America, after successfully developing a pilot course.
Materials/Methods: A longitudinal training program on implementing SBRT and SRS was provided to several radiation oncology centers in Peru and Colombia at no cost. The program consisted of regular 1-hour live video conferencing sessions weekly for 4 months with interactive didactics and a cloud-based platform for case-based learning. Participant-reported changes in confidence levels were measured in 16 practical domains of SBRT/SRS, based on 1-to-5 Likert scale levels. Pre- and post-curriculum practical knowledge-based exams were required for participation credit. Participant baseline features, completed pre- and post-curriculum surveys, overall and single professional-group confidence changes, and exam results are analyzed and reported.
Results: One hundred and seventy-five different radiotherapy professionals participated. An average of 56 (SD ± 18) attendees per session were registered. Fifty (29.7%) participants completed the pre- and post-curriculum surveys, of which 30% were radiation oncologists (RO), 26% radiation therapists (RTT), 20% residents, 18% medical physicists and 6% neurosurgeons. Significant improvements were found across all 16 domains with overall mean +0.55 (SD ± 0.17, P < 0.001) Likert-scale points. Significant improvements in individual competences were most common among medical physicists, RTT and residents. Pre- and post-curriculum exams yielded a mean 16.15/30 (53.8 ± 20.3%) and 23.6/30 (78.7 ± 19.3%) correct answers (P < 0.001).
Conclusion: Longitudinal telehealth training is an effective method for improving confidence and knowledge on SBRT/SRS amongst radiotherapy professionals. Remote continuing medical education should be widely adopted in lower-middle income countries.