Impact of high-dose-rate brachytherapy training via telehealth in low- And middle-income countries

Jeremy B. Hatcher, Oluwadamilola Oladeru, Betty Chang, Sameeksha Malhotra, Megan Mcleod, Adam Shulman, Claire Dempsey, Layth Mula-Hussain, Michael Tassoto, Peter Sandwall, Sonja Dieterich, Lina Sulieman, Dante Roa, Benjamin Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


PURPOSE Our objective was to demonstrate the efficacy of a telehealth training course on high-dose-rate (HDR) brachytherapy for gynecologic cancer treatment for clinicians in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) METHODS A 12-week course consisting of 16 live video sessions was offered to 10 cancer centers in the Middle East, Africa, and Nepal. A total of 46 participants joined the course, and 22 participants, on average, attended each session. Radiation oncologists and medical physicists from 11 US and international institutions prepared and provided lectures for each topic covered in the course. Confidence surveys of 15 practical competencies were administered to participants before and after the course. Competencies focused on HDR commissioning, shielding, treatment planning, radiobiology, and applicators. Pre- and post-program surveys of provider confidence, measured by 5-point Likert scale, were administered and compared. RESULTS Forty-six participants, including seven chief medical physicists, 16 senior medical physicists, five radiation oncologists, and three dosimetrists, representing nine countries attended education sessions. Reported confidence scores, both aggregate and paired, demonstrated increases in confidence in all 15 competencies. Post-curriculum score improvement was statistically significant (P , .05) for paired respondents in 11 of 15 domains. Absolute improvements were largest for confidence in applicator commissioning (2.3 to 3.8, P = .009), treatment planning system commissioning (2.2 to 3.9, P = .0055), and commissioning an HDR machine (2.2 to 4.0, P = .0031). Overall confidence in providing HDR brachytherapy services safely and teaching other providers increased from 3.1 to 3.8 and 3.0 to 3.5, respectively. CONCLUSION A 12-week, low-cost telehealth training program on HDR brachytherapy improved confidence in treatment delivery and teaching for clinicians in 10 participating LMICs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1803-1812
Number of pages10
JournalJCO Global Oncology
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cancer Research
  • Oncology
  • Medicine(all)


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