Launched in February 2012, TheONC is an online community exclusively for oncology nurses and the cancer care teams that support them. TheONC is free to oncology nurses and other members of the cancer care team, and is supported by an unrestricted grant from Bristol-Myers Squibb. The outcomes study was conducted by Improve CME, a third-party continuing medical education outcomes measurement and analysis company, to assess TheONC as a resource for healthcare providers and to evaluate the impact of an online community on patient care.
"In creating TheONC, it was our aim that this unique online community enable nurses to efficiently harness the power of technology to share knowledge, in the context of a supportive social environment, and enhance their professional education," said Brian Field, EVP, and Managing Director at UBM Medica US. "These results confirm that, as suspected, nurses are actively translating this shared knowledge into professional practice to improve patient outcomes. These conclusions speak to the significant effect that an innovative online community can have on clinicians and the patients they treat, and suggest that social platforms can meet a critical need for healthcare providers on the frontlines of patient care."
Improve CME undertook a variety of quantitative and qualitative measurements to assess increases in knowledge, confidence and intent to improve behavior among community members, imposing, for the first time, the same rigors typically applied to formally accredited educational programs to a social platform. At the time of survey, TheONC had over 5,000 members, of which 433 responded. Data collected through the outcomes assessment demonstrated application of information to practice and positive patient impact as follows:
78% of respondents reported that content from TheONC has improved their professional satisfaction
84% of respondents have applied what they've learned on TheONC to day-to-day care of their patients
89% of outcomes survey respondents reported improving care for a combined total of 4,670 to 8,096 patients with cancer in the month prior to survey completion.
"We are pleased to be working with UBM Medica US on this novel approach to optimizing and measuring the educational benefits of an online community," said Derek Dietze, President of Improve CME, LLC. "Based on our evaluation, we found that site members have been able to use what they've learned to improve practice and behavior – ultimately benefitting their patients. In fact, we conservatively estimate that the 5,200 members of the site at the time of our measurement will improve care for more than 225,000 patients with cancer over the course of a one-year period as a result of their involvement with TheONC."
For more information about the community, visit TheONC at www.TheONC.org.
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