Integrative Approaches in Palliative Care: Provider-Driven Online Continuing Education

Period of Performance: 09/14/2017 - 08/31/2018


Phase 2 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Collinge and Associates
EUGENE, OR 97405
Principal Investigator
Principal Investigator


Integrative approaches have been found to reduce suffering and improve quality of life in palliative care (PC) populations, and are increasingly in demand by patients and their families. However, there remains a lack of comprehensive, interprofessional, easily accessible continuing education/continuing medical education (CE/CME) on their evidence-based use in PC contexts. Objective: This FastTrack project will develop and evaluate the first comprehensive online CE/CME program for multidisciplinary PC providers in the evidence- based application of integrative approaches in PC. Feasibility was established in a preliminary study using pro- totype modules with 51 PC providers. Highly significant gains were seen in user knowledge and self-efficacy, along with high ratings of relevance and value. Phase I Aims. 1. Conduct focus groups to obtain provider input on optimal program content and indicators of program impact. 2. Analyze focus group data. 3. Formulate pro- vider-driven guidelines for program content. 4. Develop a new outcome measure to assess practitioner behav- ior change as a surrogate for improved patient outcomes. Phase II Aims. 1. Produce nine program modules that address the evidence-based application of integrative approaches for symptoms frequently seen in PC settings. 2. Conduct peer review of content to determine fidelity with current evidence. 3. Incorporate program design criteria necessary for multidisciplinary CE/CME approval. 4. Build a responsive website to deliver the online interactive program and evaluation. 5. Assess program outcomes in a randomized controlled trial. 6. As- sess perceived content relevance, satisfaction, and recommendations for updating. Hypothesis. At follow-up experimental subjects will have significantly greater improvements than controls in (1) practical confidence and (2) frequency of provider behaviors that promote integrative care. Impact. CE/CME is a major vehicle for up- dating PC professionals about new evidence in the field. However, there is a lack of comprehensive and inter- professional CE/CME content addressing evidence-based integrative care in PC settings. By educating multidisciplinary providers on evidence-based integrative approaches, this program will have a potentially pow- erful impact on patients' quality of life and comfort through improved non-pharmacological symptom manage- ment. Innovation. We will use a provider-driven approach to content and evaluation, a new provider behavior assessment instrument to be developed, dynamic updating and content tracking features that engage learners, and a learner dialog feature that builds a database of commentary for learners and the PIs for future updates. Commercial application: The program will be available to the PC workforce for discipline-specific CE/CME credit at their convenience. Product: An interactive online CE/CME program with an accompanying outcome measure to assess practitioner behavior with or without the program. Public health benefit: Improved quality of life for potentially millions of patients and families receiving PC services.