Oncology-Specific EMRs Improve Patient Care and Safety

Using oncology-specific EMRs to chart evidence-based treatment plans has improved patient care and quality, according to a clincians at The Mount Sinai Hospital.

The EMRs, Epic’s Beacon module system, designed specifically for cancer treatment, enable drugs to be prescribed and health records to be exchanged electronically. Quality-related clinical data also can be captured for analysis. The Beacon module enables clinicians to chart evidence-based treatment plans and provides the capacity to store a database of approved treatment protocols, including supportive care for side effect management.

A panel of experts from Mount Sinai, including oncology physicians, nurses and pharmacists, spent more than a year and hundreds of hours clinically validating more than 400 treatment protocols. They then grouped the protocols by cancer type and noted which supportive care treatments, such as anti-nausea medication, paired well with each protocol.

The panel found that nearly 80 percent of people using the EMR felt it increased their day-to-day efficiency and improved the quality of patient care.

In particular, it simplified treatment plans and chemotherapy cycles for cancer patients, often requiring multiple medications at various intervals for six to 12 months. Once created, the long-term plans were made available to any member of the patient’s medical team, and were automatically adjusted when patients’ treatment plans were modified.

Such a system has a number of benefits, including:

  • Clinicians may enter evidence-based treatment protocols for their care practitioners to follow, which include supportive care for side effect management.
  • They decrease the possibility of notes or test results being misplaced.
  • They may reduce orders for duplicate tests.
  • Vets prescribed drugs and doses in each patient to prevent life-threatening medication errors.

Mount Sinai installed the first phase of Epic Beacon in March 2012 in the chemotherapy infusion suites and then expanded to inpatient and ambulatory services over the course of four months.

Source: Mount Sinai Hospital, December 1, 2012

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