Implementing an Electronic Data Capture System to Improve Clinical Workflow in a Large Academic Radiation Oncology Practice

JCO Clin Cancer Inform. 2018 Dec;2:1-12. doi: 10.1200/CCI.18.00034.


Purpose: To describe the feasibility and benefits of implementing a custom radiation oncology electronic data capture (EDC) system in a large academic radiation oncology practice.

Patients and methods: A Web-based point-and-click EDC known as Brocade was internally developed and implemented systemwide in 2016. Brocade captures key data elements, such as stage, histology, and patient and treatment characteristics; links this information to radiation dose data extracted from the record and verify system; and creates clinical notes that are automatically exported to the hospital electronic health record. We report the number of unique radiation episodes captured by Brocade in its first full year of implementation and describe the notes generated, toxicities captured, compliance with staging and quality assurance, and time of day in which documentation occurred with Brocade versus our prior human transcription system.

Results: A median of 756 radiation episodes per month was captured for a total of 9,283 unique episodes captured in the first full year of implementation. The most common notes were for on-treatment visits (29,913) and simulations (13,220). Stage was captured for 92.2% of Brocade episodes (8,513 of 9,236) versus 29.7% of courses pre-Brocade (3,025 of 10,170; P < .001). Quality assurance was documented for 96.3% of completed courses (7,601 of 7,892). The most common grade ≥1 toxicities were pain (10,031), fatigue (7,490), and dermatitis (6,172). Brocade implementation was associated with a reduction in off-hours documentation and increase in the proportion of documentation created between 8:00 am and 12:00 pm.

Conclusion: Brocade is a reliable Web-based EDC tool that improves clinical documentation without detracting from clinical workflow. Moreover, Brocade has the advantage of capturing data in a structured manner that facilitates real-time analytics and outcome reporting.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Electronic Health Records / trends*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Radiation Oncology / methods*
  • Workflow