IT Boost for Cancer Care at Basildon

CANCER patients are benefiting from quicker, more efficient treatment thanks to Basildon Hospital's new electronic prescribing system.

The new system, which allows doctors to tweak the dosage of chemotherapy drugs and save the changes on an electronic record, is ensuring patients receive tailor-made treatment in the most streamlined way.

Previously, prescriptions for chemotherapy had to be printed out, amended and signed by the doctor.

Parag Jasani, cancer consultant haematologist and clinical head of the project, explained: "Patients often experience side effects and we have to amend the dosage."

"The previous software did not store those notes online because they were written down. Doctors had to rely on the pharmacy team to cross-check the prescription with the previous prescriptions for discrepancies."

"The new electronic system allows these changes and improves communication between the doctors, nurses and pharmacists involved in the patient's care."

Since the new oncology system began rolling out in June 2014, preassessment appointments have also been given to cancer patients a few days before their chemotherapy appointment.

It allows doctors and nurses to ask the patient about any side effects they have experienced, to make sure they are well and take bloods tests.

Helen McClay, principal pharmacist and clinical development leader, said: "It allows the clinicians to pick up on any changes before the patient actually attends their chemotherapy appointment. Although we have some chemotherapy drugs on site, we also order some in and this has to be done 48 hours before treatment is due to ensure that chemotherapy is delivered on site in time."

"If there is a change to the dosage, we can anticipate those issues and that means we can start the patient's treatment straight away."

By the end of this month, all patients needing chemotherapy will be on the new prescribing system and it is hoped the system will develop, joining the electronic diaries of the haematology day unit and infusion suite at Basildon Hospital, to ensure better planning of appointments.

Dr Jasani added: "Everyone involved in this project, clinicians, pharmacy and IT have worked really hard to implement the new system across each of our cancer speciality areas so our patients feel the benefits."

"It also shows how the trust is investing in systems which are better designed for modern healthcare."

Full Article