Objective: The European Reference Network on Rare Endocrine Conditions (Endo-ERN), operational since 2017, consists of 71 health care providers (HCPs) in 19 EU member states. Our objective was to assess education and knowledge on rare endocrine conditions.
Design and Methods: A survey was developed and sent through the DIGIT-EUROSURVEY system to all Endo-ERN HCPs.
Results: Response rate was 55% (n=146), 95% physicians, 58% >20 years of experience, 96% academics. Largest knowledge gaps were reported for the transition and neonatal ages, and for the GPs. Less than 50% of HCPs had structured educational rare diseases (RD) plans, while 86% used RD specific guidelines. HCPs would share educational materials within Endo-ERN (74%), and participate in an accreditation model (85%). E-learning portals of the endocrine scientific societies used 58% (ESPE) and 64% (ESE). Most participants (90%) regarded Endo-ERN coordinated educational activities (annual meetings slots, webinars, etc.) as highly important and supported a common educational platform. Social media was perceived as important for educating patients (86%) but not for physicians (36%). Seventy-five % had developed patient education materials; only 31% had specific children’s materials, and by-country availability varied from 0% to 100%. Respondents provided newly diagnosed patients with own material in the national language (81%); referred to advocacy groups (68%), and relevant on-line sources (50%). Respondents believed European Commission should fund education through Endo-ERN.
Conclusion: Identified knowledge gaps in rare endocrine disorders set the basis for fast catch-up through collaboration, alignment with patients’ needs, and further development of existing and newly developed educational resources.