Online oral anti-cancer education for community pharmacists: A pilot study (#100)
Background: Rapid expansion in oral anti-cancer medicines has resulted in a paradigm shift from infusions in oncology units to oral dosing in the patient’s home. This shift along with Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme requirements has compelled community pharmacists to dispense the majority of these highly specialised medicines. Practice observations at a tertiary hospital suggest that this shift was not accompanied by appropriate education for community pharmacists.
Aim: To evaluate the impact of a tailored education program on the knowledge and confidence of community pharmacists required to dispense oral anti-cancer medications.
Methods: Community pharmacists (n=50) were recruited to complete an online education module (www.pharmacyew.weebly.com) with case based clinical questions. The program included pre-assessment knowledge questions, each accompanied by a confidence question. This was followed by post-assessment knowledge questions, again accompanied by a confidence question. At four weeks and twelve weeks after completion of the education program participants were contacted and asked to answer a follow-up survey containing questions from the post-assessment questionnaire.
Results: On average, 60.5% of the pre-assessment knowledge based questions were answered correctly (range 25-100%). Post-assessment, an average of 94.4% of questions were answered correctly (p<0.0001), with 96% of participants achieving the knowledgeable benchmark (80% or more correct answers). Pre-assessment, the most common confidence answer was ‘no idea; it’s a guess’ (48.2%), this was reduced to only 12.1% post-assessment (p=0.0001). Follow up surveys were returned by 13 of the 41 eligible participants. Of these participants, nine maintained or improved their knowledge and confidence.
Conclusion: This pilot study revealed that completion of a tailored oral anti-cancer medicine education program resulted in a statistically significant improvement in both knowledge and confidence. Knowledge and confidence gains were not consistently retained at follow-up. The positive results of this study are intended to facilitate the development of other programs, by having identified knowledge deficiencies.