Canadian Rheumatology Association Annual Scientific Meeting 2023

Title:  Utilization of a new educational platform designed to improve the care of cancer patients receiving immunotherapy: An Initiative of CanRIO (Canadian Research Group of Rheumatology in Immuno-Oncology)


Background:  Immunotherapy has revolutionized treatment of many advanced stage malignancies by harnessing the immune system to fight cancer.  Use of these agents can lead to many off-target effects known as immune-related adverse events (irAE).  The management of patients with rheumatic immune-related adverse events (Rh-irAE) as well as cancer patients with pre-existing rheumatic disease (PRD) is challenging in the face of limited guiding-evidence.  This is a rapidly evolving area of medicine where many rheumatologists lack experience, knowledge, and confidence.1


Purpose:  To improve the knowledge of health care providers on two specific patient populations (i) cancer patients who develop de-novo Rh-irAE and (ii) patients with PRD being treated with immunotherapy by developing an educational platform that facilitates cross discipline and region collaboration and supports healthcare providers caring for these patients to ensure educational resources are available and easily accessible.  Here we assess the utilization of this platform.


Methods:  We developed an educational platform ( to house multiple tools to facilitate knowledge acquisition and transfer including a) case-based learning modules (with pre and post module questionnaires) b) interactive bi-monthly case rounds c) up-to-date compilation of relevant research publications d) patient resources including drug information handouts e) healthcare provider resources including Rh-irAE specific handouts f) list of rheumatologists specializing in this field in Canada.  Google Analytics is embedded within the website and was used to track website traffic since the website’s inception in February of 2021.


Results:  Between February 2021 and October 2022, 1431 users from 47 different countries accessed the website.  The top three countries from which users accessed the site were Canada, China and the United States (Figure 1).  The most accessed website pages included the homepage and login (1,739), case rounds (477), learning modules (307), doctors and clinics (243).   Ninety-one people registered for case rounds; 41% rheumatologists, 43% trainees (rheumatology, oncology, internal medicine and neurology), 9% oncologists and 7% other (research coordinators, pharmacists).


Conclusion:  As the use of immunotherapy increases, rheumatologists across Canada and the world will be increasingly called upon to co-manage these patients in partnership with oncologists and other healthcare providers.  There is a need for further education in this rapidly evolving field of medicine and this educational program has been able to reach users not only in Canada, but all over the world.  Future initiatives would be to facilitate international collaboration through case rounds, adding and updating resources, and specifically targeting an international audience.