Telehealth network can be used to certify nurses in chemotherapy biotherapy

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NEW ORLEANS—A telehealth network is effective at delivering certification courses in chemotherapy biotherapy to oncology nurses living in rural areas, according to research presented at the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) 37th Annual Congress.

In Kansas, availability of certified chemotherapy/biotherapy trainers is limited to metropolitan areas of the state. To meet the growing demand for chemotherapy certified nurses, The Midwest Cancer Alliance (MCA), The University of Kansas

Cancer Center, and The University of Kansas Center for Telemedicine and Telehealth (KUCTT) partnered to deliver a chemotherapy/biotherapy training course using interactive televideoconferencing (ITV).

The MCA, established in 2007, is a membership-based organization that supports health care professionals to increase access to cancer research and to advance the quality and reach of cancer prevention, early detection, treatment, and survivorship in Kansas and western Missouri. The overlying goal of the MCA is to provide more options to patients and professionals closer to their communities.

In order to promote evidence-based care, the MCA uses ITV to broadcast their professional education courses to members, some as far as 400 miles away. This technology has been used for over 20 years by KUCTT to deliver clinical telemedicine services, saving time, expense, and ultimately facilitating the speed at which evidence-based care is adopted into practice.

The course is delivered biannually to MCA member oncology nurses with less than 2 years of oncology experience, as well as newly hired nurses who don't have current ONS certification.

As a result of this initiative that began in 2008, 174 nurses from seven communities across the state have completed the course via ITV and received their provider card.

“The increased number of nurses certified in ONS Chemotherapy Biotherapy through the MCA demonstrates that this method of delivery is successful and supports our plan to expand our professional development opportunities using ITV as the delivery mechanism,” the researchers concluded.

While the MCA members have access to the ONS Chemotherapy Biotherapy course online, they indicated that they would prefer to participate in an in-person delivery of the course.

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