A survey of multidisciplinary healthcare providers utilizing the KNOWintegrativeoncology.org educational platform.

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BMC Complementary Medicine and Therapies


BACKGROUND: Although the vast majority of cancer patients use natural health products (NHPs), 59% of oncology healthcare providers (HCP) report not receiving any education on NHPs. KNOWintegrativeoncology.org (KNOW) is a web-based educational platform that provides up-to-date evidence on NHPs used in cancer care with a user-friendly interface. KNOW is a database of human studies systematically gathered from MEDLINE and EMBASE. We surveyed HCPs before and after accessing KNOW to identify their information needs regarding NHPs in cancer care, their preferred way to receive information, barriers they face accessing NHP information, and to obtain feedback on the website.

METHODS: Recruitment was done through Beaumont Health Systems, the Society for Integrative Oncology, and the Andrew Weil Centre for Integrative Medicine, University of Arizona. HCPs who consented completed an initial survey and then a follow-up survey after being given access to KNOW for 4-6 weeks. Participants were required to access KNOW at least three times before completion of the follow-up survey.

RESULTS: A total of 65 participants completed the initial survey, with 60% (n = 39) from the conventional medical community, 33% (n = 21) from the integrative medicine community, and 7% (n = 5) from the research community. The majority of participants (82%; n = 53) preferred educational websites to email updates, podcasts/webinars, in-house experts, PubMed searches and smartphone apps. The most common barriers identified to accessing information on NHPs were time, accessibility at point-of-care, and credibility of sources. A high number of participants were lost to follow up, with 18 participants demographically representative of the initial sample of 65 completing the follow-up survey. Half (n = 9) of participants stated accessing the KNOW website changed their clinical practice. Close to 90% (n = 16) reported they would recommend KNOW to a colleague.

CONCLUSION: Oncology HCPs reported preferring to use, and already relying on, numerous web-based educational platforms to gather information on NHPs, with time, accessibility, and credibility being common barriers to obtaining information. Our study findings highlight the promise of the KNOW web-based educational platform in reducing barriers to accessing up-to-date information on NHPs in busy cancer care settings.





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