Background With the ever growing arsenal of oral chemotherapy agents now available, cancer treatment is being increasingly managed in the outpatient setting. However, oral chemotherapy use is often associated with several potential obstacles and complications. In order to provide optimal patient safety and oral chemotherapy monitoring, our institution implemented an oral chemotherapy program managed by clinical pharmacists electronically through Epic Beacon. Objective To describe implementation of a novel pharmacist-managed oral chemotherapy program and evaluate pharmacist interventions before and after implementation of an oral chemotherapy program. Methods This was a single-center retrospective chart review of documented pharmacy interventions for oral chemotherapy prescriptions during three months prior to as well as three months following Epic Beacon implementation. Time periods for data inclusion were October-December 2013 (pre-Beacon) and October-December 2014 (post-Beacon). Patients included in the study had one or more oral chemotherapy orders during the pre-Beacon period, the post-Beacon period, or both pre- and post-Beacon. Our analysis did not include oral chemotherapy orders that were placed outside of a treatment plan in the post-Beacon period. Results A total of 240 patients with 450 total oral chemotherapy orders were assessed over the duration of the study. Beacon implementation allowed a greater number of oral chemotherapy orders to be reviewed, with 134 oral chemotherapy orders reviewed in the study period prior to Beacon implementation and 316 orders reviewed in the post-Beacon period. Additionally, there were 660% more pharmacist interventions (89 interventions pre-Beacon versus 681 interventions post-Beacon), with an increased focus on coordination of care, chemotherapy calendar coordination, and assistance with treatment plans. Furthermore, implementation of Epic Beacon allowed identification of over 500% more chemotherapy order errors (41 total errors identified pre-Beacon versus 250 total errors identified post-Beacon). Pharmacists were also able to identify more significant, serious, or potentially lethal errors following implementation. The time associated with oral chemotherapy review and intervention also increased accordingly with number of orders reviewed. Conclusion Implementation of an electronic workflow for oral chemotherapy dramatically increased pharmacist review of orders, resulting in improved documentation of interventions and errors, decreased need for clarification of orders, as well as increased volume of prescriptions at our on-site pharmacy. This study demonstrates a comprehensive approach to maximize safety when oral chemotherapy is utilized as a component of the treatment regimen.
Keywords: Beacon; Epic; Oral chemotherapy; error; pharmacist; safety.