Spaced Education to Optimize Prostate Cancer Screening
Two memory research findings (the spacing and testing effects) can dramatically improve retention of learning, but they have largely have been ignored by educators. The researchers have developed a novel form of online education (termed 'spaced education') based on these two effects which has been shown in randomized trials to improve knowledge acquisition and boost learning retention. Using prostate cancer screening as an experimental system, the researchers investigated whether spaced education could durably improve clinicians' behaviors, not just their knowledge.
|Study Design:||Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Open Label
Primary Purpose: Health Services Research
|Official Title:||Spaced Education to Optimize Prostate Cancer Screening|
- Percentage of inappropriate prostate-specific antigen (PSA) screening performed by clinicians [ Time Frame: Weeks 1-108 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]The primary outcome measure was the difference in the percentage of inappropriate PSA screening performed by clinicians in the spaced education and control cohorts. Based on published clinical guidelines and reports, inappropriate PSA utilization was defined as the use of PSA for prostate cancer screening in patients >76 or <40 years old, or with an estimated life expectancy of less than 10 years.
- Change in test scores between cohorts measured in weeks 1-36 [ Time Frame: Weeks 1-36 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Change in spaced education performance measured in weeks 1-36 [ Time Frame: Weeks 1-36 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
- Clinicians' intention to participate in future spaced education programs [ Time Frame: Week 36 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Assessed on end-of program survey at week 36
- Time required by clinicians to complete the spaced education questions-explanations [ Time Frame: Week 36 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]Assessed on end-of program survey at week 36
|Study Start Date:||January 2007|
|Study Completion Date:||February 2009|
|Primary Completion Date:||February 2009 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)|
Experimental: Spaced education clinicians - cohort 1
Spaced education clinicians receive four isomorphic cycles of 9 spaced education emails over 36-weeks (0-2 emails per week). Each email contained one question-explanation.
Behavioral: Online spaced education
Spaced education is currently delivered via periodic emails that contain clinical case scenarios and multiple-choice questions. Upon submitting answers to each question online, clinicians receive immediate feedback and educational material. The questions are then repeated over spaced intervals of time to harness the pedagogical benefits of the spacing effect.
No Intervention: Control clinicians - cohort 2
Control clinicians received no intervention
Please refer to this study by its ClinicalTrials.gov identifier: NCT01168323
|United States, Massachusetts|
|Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System|
|Boston, Massachusetts, United States, 02130|
|Principal Investigator:||B. Price Kerfoot, MD EdM||VA Boston Healthcare System, Harvard Medical School|