Multidisciplinary Educational Program to Standardize Education and Management of Immune-related Adverse Events: Review and Outcomes of a Single-institution Initiative

Matthew Zibelman, Victoria Wong, Jennifer Reilly, Carolyn Zawislak, Darrin Richman, Cynthia Keleher, Brianna Herron, Christine Rafferty, Tracy Tisone, Barbara Rogers, Rutika Kokate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: The use of immune checkpoint inhibitors (ICIs) as anticancer therapy across a variety of malignancies has led to durable efficacy in a subset of patients. However, associated side effects denoted immune-related adverse events (irAEs) have emerged and can result in substantial morbidity and mortality. Particularly early in the experience of using these agents, a lack of standardized education regarding irAEs among patients and clinical providers may have contributed to poor outcomes. Optimal management of these emerging toxicities depends on a coordinated institutional approach. We hypothesized that centralized educational programs and electronic health record (EHR)-based interventions, targeted both toward ICI-treated patients as well as patient-interfacing providers, would improve patient outcomes.

METHODS: We created a multidisciplinary team of clinicians and associated staff to direct a coordinated approach to the education and management of patients receiving ICIs across our institution. A 3-tiered approach was designed: patient-centered, internally centered, and externally centered. Multimedia educational products were produced for patients to improve knowledge and awareness of ICIs and associated irAEs. An EHR-based banner was deployed to improve identification of patients receiving ICIs across disciplines. Tailored educational seminars were provided to clinicians who interact with ICI-treated patients at all levels. Educational seminars were also offered to local physicians and institutions. We assessed patient uptake of educational products and surrogate patient outcomes to measure the potential impact of our interventions.

RESULTS: Fox Chase Cancer Center (FCCC)-specific ICI identification cards were created and distributed to patients. By the end of the investigational period, 98.6% of ICI-treated patients reported receiving a card. An ICI-focused on-line portal was created accessible only to ICI-treated patients, with 9.4% of these patients accessing the portal in the first 6 months without marketing promotion. Deidentified surrogate clinical endpoints of corticosteroid use, direct referral unit (DRU) visits, and hospital admissions all improved during the study period.

CONCLUSIONS: Institutionally directed educational initiatives are feasible at a free-standing academic cancer center and may lead to improved outcomes in patients developing irAEs from ICIs. More granular patient-specific data and studies at other types of institutions are necessary to determine the applicability of similar approaches on a broader scale.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAmerican Journal of Clinical Oncology: Cancer Clinical Trials
StateE-pub ahead of print - Apr 17 2024


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