Innovative Desktop Learning Tools: The Cancer Learning Center
Project Number 21 – 1993
FiestaNet Network Administrator
Texas Hospital Education and Research Foundation
Post Office Box 15587
Austin, Texas 78761
Fax: (512) firstname.lastname@example.org
Other Individuals And Organizations Associated With The Project
Texas Tumor Registrars Association
The University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston
tumor registries in Texas hospitals
Funding provided by the Texas Cancer Council
the RGK Foundation and member hospitals of the Texas Hospital Association.
The Texas Cancer Council has provided funds during the last three years to develop the Cancer Learning Center. The Center was created so that, without regard to time or distance, tumor registrars and certified tumor registrars from across Texas could work together and benefit from knowledge sharing. The major objectives are:
- to augment the learning capacity of 120 tumor registrars without regard to time and distance barriers,
- to develop a new approach to learning job-specific information,
- to deliver learning directly to the tumor registrar, and,
- to increase individual and group productivity.
The Center is structured around “classrooms” that are based upon the Fundamental Tumor Registry Operations modules developed by the American College of Surgeons. The 13 modules contain information basic to the day-to- day operations of the tumor registry. In studying and learning the information from the modules, not only does the tumor registrar gain more in-depth knowledge of the job and the realm of the cancer registry, he or she is more prepared for the Certified Tumor Registrars’ exam, which can help the tumor registrar advance professionally. During the first 18 month pilot phase, six of seven students took the exam and all six passed. The Center also indexed and provided 120 tumor registrars the Cancer Learning Center Electronic Handbook, a shared, task-specific form of “organizational memory”.
The Foundation has recently installed the FiestaNet electronic network which houses the Cancer Learning Center. The goal is to build upon the earlier demonstration and increase the number of tumor registries from 12 to 75 by August 1994. Tumor registrars across Texas are now able to have their computer dial a local telephone number to access the Center’s host computer running Caucus computer conferencing software and participate in the Center’s problem-solving activities. Funding to provide access to the Internet is in development.
The Cancer Learning Center addresses the following interests
- Are collaborations involving different types of institutions, organizations, and agencies. The consortium operating the Cancer Learning Center is composed of a professional association (the Texas Tumor Registrars Association), a health science center (the University of Texas Medical Branch), an affiliate of a hospital trade association (Texas Hospital Education and Research Foundation) and numerous hospital or cancer center- based tumor registries. To our knowledge, this is the only collaborative problem-solving and distance learning electronic environment for tumor registrars. The consortium builds upon the strengths of each participant to deliver task-specific, on-demand content.
- Observe the contemporary economic imperative to “do more with less” while providing an “elegant” approach to networked teaching and learning. Tumor registrars have no formal and very costly informal learning sources. Their education is primarily on-the-job. In addition, they represent hospital middle management knowledge workers who have little or no opportunity to travel. Health care reform limits travel to continuing education or tumor registry meetings to all but a few registrars. The ability to engage in on- demand collaborative problem solving levels the field in Texas. The Cancer Learning Center has proven to be a cost-effective tool using appropriate technology.
- Manifest a high degree of replicability and long-term viability. The lessons learned in developing the Cancer Learning Center are now being applied to Project LINC: A Texas Work/School Experience, a national replication funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Project LINC’s electronic design team includes participants from hospitals, long-term care facilities, professional associations, universities, community colleges and state agencies. They work collaboratively in a computer conference environment similar to and based in large part on the lessons learned in developing the Cancer Learning Center. The Texas Hospital Education and Research Foundation, operator of FiestaNet and the Cancer Learning Center, expects to use the network for facilitating current and future projects and also as part of a strategy to deliver education leading to a degree into the work site.
An overhead projector and telephone line (local access) will be needed. In addition, a TV/VCR combination would provide an opportunity to show a 5 minute video.