With a goal to enhance understanding of the diagnosis and management of lung cancer, the American Society for Clinical Pathology (ASCP), Chicago, has expanded its evidence-based, online diagnostic (Dx) toolkit to provide educational resources at the point of need to pathologists and medical laboratorians.

“The expansion of the Dx toolkit to lung cancer provides a unique, cutting-edge tool to help pathologists, laboratory professionals, and clinicians alike meet their needs in lung cancer education, and it serves as a resource to help them review and convey important current information about lung cancer tissue preparation, processing, and testing to their patients,” says Mitra Mehrad, MD, a member of ASCP’s lung cancer Dx toolkit steering committee. “This is a model on-demand learning tool, an approach that brings resources to medicine in real time.”

The toolkit is designed around actionable topics of tumor acquisition and adequacy, specimen handling and ancillary testing, and interpretation and guidelines. Every resource is organized to seamlessly integrate with the laboratory workflow.

E. Blair Holladay, PhD, ASCP.

E. Blair Holladay, PhD, ASCP.

“On-demand learning tools are vital to provide the information and education necessary to operationalize new standards in medical care to maximize patient health,” says E. Blair Holladay, CEO of ASCP.

On-demand education enables users to access resources to answer their questions in real time, as the questions arise in clinical practice, and immediately integrate and employ evidence-based principles and practices. “This approach contrasts with traditional continuing medical education, in which the learning activity takes place separate from the clinical activity,” says Dean Wallace, MD, FASCP, who serves on the lung cancer Dx toolkit steering committee.

On-demand learning is targeted and shorter than traditional educational modules, which are typically an hour in length and cover multiple areas of a subject. On-demand learning includes carefully curated articles, as well as multimedia modules that are 15 to 20 minutes in length, covering a single actionable topic within a broader subject.

The availability of online resources such as PubMed has made on-demand education increasingly common in clinical medicine, but according to ASCP it can be difficult to identify the most pertinent and high-yield references.

The toolkit’s site is refreshed on a regular basis with evidence-based research identified by ASCP subject matter experts. The toolkit leverages resources that are drawn from ASCP’s library of peer-reviewed multimedia courses, academic journals, enduring materials, referential content, and case of the month series, which offers peer comparisons.

“Members of the steering committee each reviewed numerous evidence-based articles identified by ASCP as relating to preanalytic, analytic, and postanalytic practices in lung cancer,” says Mehrad. “The articles were evaluated for relevancy, usefulness in improving diagnosis or treatment of lung cancer, and contribution to medical knowledge or skills relating to diagnosis or treatment of lung cancer. Articles that were deemed highly relevant and useful were included as resources in the Dx toolkit.”

Genentech and Merck serve as founding sponsors of the toolkit.

According to ASCP, it is committed to growing its Dx toolkit site with an eye toward further expansion. For more information, visit ASCP.