Southend University Hospital Foundation Trust has become the first trust in the Essex Cancer Network to implement an oncology e-prescribing system.
CIS Oncology's ChemoCare went live last month. Because the trust has more than 540 network-approved chemotherapy regimens, it has decided to adopt a "phased approach" to implementation, with the system first being used in breast cancer treatment.
Clinicians are using the system to prescribe chemotherapy regimens and oncology nurses are confirming and authorising patient treatment, including electronically recording drug administration.
Pharmacists also have the ability to clinically screen and verify treatments, print master prescriptions while pharmacy production staff can generate their drug manufacturing worksheets.
Project manager, Anjum Sair, told eHealth Insider that the trust originally purchased ChemoCare four years ago but only started the implementation process last year.
"The trust bought the system some years ago but couldn't get it to go-live due to staff availability and I came along a year ago to get the system off the ground.
"The biggest challenge for us was transporting all of our paper regimens. We have had a slow start but we are now looking at developing the system and the functionality is there for the electronic diary and chemo scheduling," he said.
The next go-live will occur in colorectal cancer services. The trust believes ChemoCare has the potential to deliver several benefits; the improvement of prescribing practices and patient safety, the removal of the requirement for paper due to the electronic referral form, and an electronic record of chemotherapy treatments, which can be accessed by staff along the care pathway.
The system will also provide Southend with a full audit trail and ensure that it meets the Department of Health's minimum data set and the systemic anti-cancer therapy data set requirement.
ChemoCare has been designed to interface with the trust's McKesson Totalcare patient administration system and Clinisys pathology system, so that clinicians can view patient demographic information and pathology blood results in the system.
For the initial installation, the trust set up a command centre, which acted as a central hub to assist the first 60 users. Sair said that the trust was having a few "teething problems" with the system but overall implementation had been a success.
"The initial challenge was the biggest in getting clinicians to understand the benefits of the system but fortunately we have had huge success in getting clinical engagement.
“Staff feedback has been positive and people are getting to see the benefits and they can see it will make life easier in the long run," he explained.
Evelyn Allen, director of pharmacy at the trust, said that Southend was delighted to be the first trust in the Essex Cancer Network to deploy the system.
"With the increasing incidence of cancer and the arrival of new and more complex chemotherapy regimens, ChemoCare will improve patient safety and meet the demands of an expanding service," she said.
© 2012 EHealth Media.
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