Background: Computerized provider order entry (CPOE) systems have been shown to enhance the safety and efficiency of prescribing chemotherapy over the handwritten ordering process. However, many institutions lack the financial ability, technological capability, or operational flexibility to invest in and implement such a system. In particular, Olive View-UCLA Medical Center (OVMC), a Los Angeles County safety net hospital, is among these institutions with unique restrictions that preclude the use of chemotherapy CPOE and mandate handwritten orders.
Methods: In an effort to bridge the gap for safe chemotherapy prescribing, we aimed to develop and implement an effective, scalable, and sustainable chemotherapy provider order entry solution that was operationally sensitive to institutions without a chemotherapy CPOE. The solution was designed as a mobile application using Xcode, the integrative development environment of Apple Inc., with the Swift programing language.
Results: On September 5th, 2018, we launched a free, chemotherapy provider order entry solution on the worldwide Apple App Store – ChemoPalRx. Using ChemoPalRx, providers can search, customize, and print common chemotherapy regimens in prescription format. Along with a reference library of over 120 order set and 450 medications, ChemoPalRx is equipped with the functions to automate dosage calculation, suggest pre-medications and safety parameters, and trigger alerts for missing prescribing information. As a quality improvement initiative, we implemented ChemoPalRx at OVMC. Implementation stages include obtaining administrative buy-in, consulting with multidisciplinary staffs, investing $100 USD for a prescription printer, and encouraging providers to download ChemoPalRx on their own mobile devices. An ongoing prospective cohort study is being conducted to determine ChemoPalRx effectiveness in reducing errors compared to handwritten orders.
Conclusions: ChemoPalRx is developed to enhance the safety and efficiency of chemotherapy prescribing. Implementation of this mobile application is feasible in the safety-net hospital setting and has the potential to transform oncology practices globally.
Author: Tony Kin Wai Hung