Posted on December 21, 2015

The National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR) has become the first hospital outside the US to implement an electronic system for chemotherapy patients.

The initiative, known as PowerChart Oncology, was led by the chemotherapy team at NCCCR and involves the collection and integration of all of the clinical information that supports the different aspects of oncology care for patients receiving chemotherapy. With PowerChart Oncology, healthcare providers, including physicians, nurses, and pharmacists, have access to patient-specific data, flow sheets and an interactive cancer-staging component.

“This is an ambitious program that was successfully implemented at NCCCR earlier this year. It is an efficient system that has allowed healthcare providers across the spectrum of cancer care to easily access data pertinent to patients’ treatment journey. The program currently focuses on the chemotherapy prescription for patients and plays a key role in supporting clinicians treating tumors,” said Dr. Salha Bujassoum Al Bader, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist at the NCCCR and chair Breast Cancer tumor board, who oversees the implementation of the system. 

This quality improvement initiative has received ongoing approval and was honored with the Collaborative Achievement award at HMC’s annual Stars of Excellence Award Ceremony 2015. Describing the initiative, Dr. Al-Bader said, “The PowerChart process was custom-made in accordance with international standards and HMC’s clinical policies. The process goes through stages that start with recording the personal and medical data of patients at the registration office and ends with recording medical appointments, required check-ups, medical history, case progress, X-rays and laboratory results, details of chemotherapy, and the type and dosage of prescribed medications.”

According to Dr. Al-Bader, the new system is of high importance to the process of administering chemotherapy to oncology patients. “The chemotherapy team at NCCCR is proud to be the first team, outside the US, to succeed in the application of an electronic system of chemotherapy in the treatment of tumors. The treatment protocols applied at NCCCR in this regard are in compliance with the pertinent local and international guidelines including those of the World Health Organization,” she said.

These protocols are available to all therapists in three different phases: the first phase is pre-chemotherapy blood testing, the second phase is pre-chemotherapy medication and chemotherapy prescribing, and finally the third phase is the post-chemotherapy phase. All oncology patients benefit from this system, whether they undergo chemotherapy, immunotherapy, or hormone therapy, Dr. Al Bader explained. In addition to minimizing data recording time, the newly-implemented system facilitates communication amongst healthcare professionals caring for patients, eliminates possible errors that may result from manual data entry, and assists in the processing of statistics intended for epidemiologic studies, serving the interest of patients and enhancing healthcare outcomes.

The successful implementation of the PowerChart system has enabled clinicians to conduct comprehensive reviews of treatment plans for each oncology patient in accordance with the national oncology care protocol. "The system was specifically designed to meet patient needs and the requirements of the oncology care scheme at NCCCR. The rapid development of chemotherapy practices around the world requires regular upgrading of treatment systems to keep up with highest international standards,” Dr. Al Bader said. 

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