Confronting Knowledge Gaps in Rare Hematologic Malignancies

In the beginning of 2022, i3 Health and Oncology Data Advisor hosted ODACon: A Rare Hematologic Malignancies Symposium, a live, virtual symposium which provided five educational activities that challenged knowledge gaps experienced by clinicians regarding hematologic malignancies, including acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL), Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), mantle cell lymphoma (MCL), myelodysplastic syndromes (MDS), and Waldenstrom macroglobulinemia (WM). 

According to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in 2023, an estimated 184,720 people in the United States are expected to be diagnosed with a hematologic malignancy, with 57,380 of these cases estimated to result in death. The rapid pace of clinical research in hematologic malignancies has made it difficult for providers to maintain a working knowledge of the latest treatment and supportive care advances. Current formal indications sometimes lag behind newly established guidelines and best practice recommendations based on emerging and evolving data. Therefore, it is imperative that clinicians maintain an up-to-date knowledge and understanding of hematologic malignancy treatment and management options.

To address the knowledge gaps experienced by clinicians, i3 Health and Oncology Data Advisor hosted a virtual symposium on January 29, 2022, and made the five continuing medical education (CME)–, nursing continuing professional development (NCPD)–, and continuing pharmacy education (CPE)–approved activities available online following the symposium from February 15, 2022, until February 14, 2023. The symposium was led by five key leaders in their respective fields:

  • Amir Fathi, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine at Harvard Medical School
  • Louis Diehl, MD, Professor of Medicine at Duke Cancer Institute
  • John Leonard, MD, Richard T. Silver Distinguished Professor of Hematology & Medical Oncology at Weill Cornell Medicine
  • Mikkael Sekeres, MD, Professor of Medicine at University of Miami Health System
  • Morie Gertz, MD, Professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic

Between the live symposium and the following online activity series, a total of 6,401 learners participated, with 2,906 learners completing the activities for credit. Most learners were registered nurses (87%), followed by nurse practitioners, advanced practice nurses, and clinical nurse specialists (7%), physicians (6%), and physician assists and pharmacists (>1%).

The baseline data collected revealed knowledge gaps in the following areas: discussing predictive and prognostic markers that can individualize treatment selection for patients with hematologic malignancies; assessing emerging efficacy and safety data on novel therapeutic strategies for hematologic malignancies; and evaluating strategies to optimize the safety and tolerability of novel therapies for hematologic malignancies.

Participants were given a matching pretest and posttest at the beginning and end of each activity, respectively. The posttest assessments revealed significant knowledge gains for each learning outcome: a 38% increase in knowledge (pretest 43% versus posttest 81%) regarding the prognosis of a patient over the age of 60 with stage III HL who is treated with ABVD (doxorubicin/ bleomycin/vinblastine/dacarbazine); a 38% increase in knowledge (pretest 31% versus posttest 69%) regarding p53 mutation as a MCL disease feature associated with a low likelihood of durable response to chemoimmunotherapy; a 43% increase in knowledge (pretest 25% versus posttest 68%) regarding the efficacy of inotuzumab ozogamicin as second-line treatment for Philadelphia chromosome–negative B-cell ALL; a 92% increase in knowledge (pretest 4% versus posttest 96%) regarding the efficacy of oral decitabine/cedazuridine for higher-risk MDS; and a 58% increase in knowledge (pretest 30% versus posttest 88%) regarding when to stop treatment with ibrutinib prior to minor surgery for a patient with WM.

Upon completion of the activity, 91% of learners who completed the activity for credit reported that they felt more confident in treating their patients with hematologic malignancies. As well, 91% reported that the material presented would be used to improve the outcomes of their patients with hematologic malignancies.

The data revealed by the posttest assessment affirm the effectiveness of online educational content pertaining to the topic of rare hematologic malignancies, including ALL, HL, MCL, MDS, and WM. Based on these data, i3 Health has determined that the multidisciplinary team may benefit from CME/NCPD/CPE activities that provide further education surrounding predictive and prognostic markers to individualize treatment selection for hematologic malignancies; emerging efficacy and safety data on novel treatments for hematologic malignancies; and strategies to optimize safety and tolerability of novel treatments for hematologic malignancies.

Resources

i3 Health (2023). Oncology Data Advisor®: rare hematologic malignancies symposium: activity outcomes report. Data on file.

Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (2023). Blood cancer statistics. Available at: https://www.lls.org/facts-and-statistics/facts-and-statistics-overview

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