ASCO’s Oncology Slide Library—which allows ASCO meeting attendees to upload and share their ASCO meeting presentation slides with slide-library subscribers—may only be a year old, but participation is already very high. This year’s Annual Meeting in June marked the first time ASCO gave each speaker the opportunity to have his or her presentation slides included in the library, and just over two-thirds said yes.
Benjamin Levy, MD, Head of the ASCO Integrated Media and Technology Committee (IMTC) planning group for the slide library, is excited about this, saying that the nascent library is a truly collaborative way for all ASCO members to stay up to date on fast-moving research.
“Oncology has become an extremely complicated field as new data emerges in different tumor types,” said Dr. Levy, Assistant Professor at Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Director of Thoracic Medical Oncology at Beth Israel Hospital. “This includes preclinical data, such as the discovery of a new molecular pathway, as well as the clinical trials involving new drugs that target these pathways. Recognizing this complexity, there exists a need to simplify, explain, and share the groundswell of information that we are faced with every day as physicians. I think the ASCO slide library will help achieve this goal and meet the needs of ASCO members, who for a long time have been asking for a service like this.”
What’s in the Slide Library?
Currently in the Oncology Slide Library are 2,371 slide or poster presentations uploaded by ASCO meeting presenters and 899 individual slides or presentations owned by ASCO. Most were uploaded during ASCO’s Annual Meeting this summer, but some are from the 2011 Gastrointestinal Cancers Symposium and the 2011 Genitourinary Cancers Symposium. The highest areas of use thus far have been in breast cancer and gastrointestinal cancers.
All presenters at all meetings associated with ASCO will now be asked whether they’d like to add their slides to the library, which is hosted on the ASCO University website. A large influx of slides is expected after the Breast Cancer Symposium in September.
To make sure nothing inaccurate winds up in the library, Dr. Levy said IMTC members closely oversee the content as it comes in. They also watch closely for material uploaded by individuals who don’t hold the copyright to it.
How Can the Slides Be Used?
Anyone who has an ASCO account can subscribe and download content from the slide library for educational purposes. The cost is $50 per year. Nonsubscribers can browse the slides but not download them. User-uploaded slides are marked as hailing from an external source and are downloadable as PowerPoint files. The ASCO slides, marked as copyrighted by ASCO, can also be downloaded. Neither can be altered once uploaded.
In addition, users can create and save personalized slide sets right on the website.
Stephanie Williams, MD, President of Hematology-Oncology Associates of Illinois and Professor of Clinical Medicine at Northwestern Feinberg School of Medicine, used the slide library just after ASCO’s Annual Meeting this summer, when she was asked to deliver an update on the lymphoma abstracts presented at the meeting to fellow physicians back home in the Chicago area. Dr. Williams said she loved the library’s ease of use, and that it allowed her to quickly pull together slides from various presentations, which would have taken her much longer if she had to contact each of the presenters to obtain their slides and their permission.
Plus, she said, having such easy access to presentation slides can help oncologists stay boned up on what they learned at recent meetings.
“It’s a very good resource to have so you can go back over what you heard in the sessions,” said Dr. Williams, who added that she would continue to use the slide library to enhance and inform future talks she gives to residents, fellows, and other physicians.
Dr. Levy said the timing of the library couldn’t be better. “The last 5 years in cancer research have been a very exciting time, but also very complex. The only way physicians will get a handle on all of it is through a sharing and exchange of information like this. The hope is to level the playing field as more of us oncologists are exposed to all of the information out there. And patients are the ultimate winners.”
ASCO’s Oncology Slide Library can be found here: www.university.asco.org/slides. ■
© 2011. American Society of Clinical Oncology. All rights reserved.