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Chemotherapy e-prescribing: opportunities and challenges

Authors Elsaid K, Garguilo S, Collins C

Received 9 March 2015

Accepted for publication 2 April 2015

Published 21 May 2015 Volume 2015:4 Pages 39—48

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/IPRP.S84232

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Jonathan Ling


Khaled A Elsaid,1,2 Steven Garguilo,1 Christine M Collins2

1Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences, School of Pharmacy, MCPHS University, Boston, MA, 2Pharmacy Services, Rhode Island Hospital, Providence, RI, USA

Abstract: Chemotherapy drugs are characterized by low therapeutic indices and significant toxicities at clinically prescribed doses, raising serious issues of drug safety. The safety of the chemotherapy medication use process is further challenged by regimen complexity and need to tailor treatment to patient status. Errors that occur during chemotherapy prescribing are associated with serious and life-threatening outcomes. Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems were shown to reduce overall medication errors in ambulatory and inpatient settings. The adoption of chemotherapy CPOE is lagging due to financial cost and cultural and technological challenges. Institutions that adopted infusional or oral chemotherapy electronic prescribing modified existing CPOE systems to allow chemotherapy prescribing, implemented chemotherapy-specific CPOE systems, or developed home-grown chemotherapy electronic prescribing programs. Implementation of chemotherapy electronic prescribing was associated with a significant reduction in the risk of prescribing errors, most significantly dose calculation and adjustment errors. In certain cases, implementation of chemotherapy CPOE was shown to improve the chemotherapy use process. The implementation of chemotherapy CPOE may increase the risk of new types of errors, especially if processes are not redesigned and adapted to CPOE. Organizations aiming to implement chemotherapy CPOE should pursue a multidisciplinary approach engaging all stakeholders to guide system selection and implementation. Following implementation, organizations should develop and use a risk assessment process to identify and evaluate unanticipated consequences and CPOE-generated errors. The results of these analyses should serve to further enhance the chemotherapy electronic prescribing process and improve the quality and safety of cancer care.

Keywords: computerized provider order entry, electronic health records, chemotherapy

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