Purpose: Covid-19 pandemic calls for more effective remote teaching method necessary for social distancing, while remaining equal quality of teaching. This study innovatively developed a tutoring program to help physics residents to learn pancreas stereotactic body radiation therapy(SBRT) treatment planning.
Methods: The pilot tutoring program is a compact front-end visualization platform composed of three modules: 1) teaching case module, 2) interactive knowledge module(IKM) and 3) scoring module. The teaching case module included five teaching cases. The trainee began with the benchmark case independently to benchmark the baseline skill level, which was revisited after completion of training of the other four cases to evaluate clinical planning readiness. The IKM included a deep neural network based dose-volume prediction model previously developed for pancreas SBRT. The trainee can seek reference and guidance from the IKM during learning. The scoring module summarized the plan quality by weighing key dosimetric endpoints and their relative importance. Grade point average(GPA) was introduced to qualitatively appraise the plan quality into A, B and C(within 3%, 3-10% and >10% difference of clinical plan score, corresponding to 4, 3, 2 point respectively). Five trainees with minimum planning experience completed the teaching course.
Results: Trainees achieved an average of 65.1% of total points(3.6 GPA) with 84 minutes planning time for the benchmark case pre-teaching, and improved to an average of 75.7%(4.2 GPA) using 48 minutes post-teaching. The clinical plan scored 72.7% of total points. All trainees improved their teaching plans’ scores after taking the virtual tutoring program. Post-teaching, all trainees received the GPA of A(clinical quality level)on the benchmark case planning.
Conclusion: The remote teaching program with knowledge modules provides encouraging learning outcomes in pancreas SBRT planning for less experienced planners. This deep-learning-enabled remote teaching platform could provide valuable addition to the traditional human resource heavy in-person teaching of SBRT planning.
Funding Support, Disclosures, and Conflict of Interest: This work is partially supported by NIH R01CA201212 research grant and Varian master research grant.
Not Applicable / None Entered.