Leveraging advanced preparation of oncology medications: Decreasing turnaround-times in an outpatient infusion center

J Oncol Pharm Pract. 2021 Sep;27(6):1454-1460. doi: 10.1177/1078155220960222. Epub 2020 Sep 24.


Introduction: Many oncology infusions are provided in hospital-based infusion centers. With hospital-based infusion centers seeing increased volumes, patient wait times continue to be a priority. Extended wait times for oncology infusions have been shown to lead to patient dissatisfaction.

Methods: Advanced Preparation of oncology infusion medications allows pharmacy to verify and prepare specific medications the day before a patient's infusion appointment. Our study targeted lower cost, commonly used medications to prepare in advance. Data analyzed included turnaround time (TAT), medication waste, and oncology infusion preparation volumes. Implementation took place in two phases to allow time for the healthcare team to adjust to the new workflow. Phase I medications include a small amount of medications prepared manually by pharmacy technicians. Phase II medications included all phase I medications plus additional medications that were compounded in the intravenous (IV) robotic compounding system.

Results: Our study demonstrated significant decrease in median TAT for medications prepared in advance. 537 infusions were prepared using the Advanced Preparation module with a median TAT of 24.2 minutes (IQR, 18.0-34.0). The pre-implementation median TAT was 45.0 minutes (IQR, 36.0-56.0), which represents a decrease of 20.8 minutes (46.2%) following implementation of the program, (p<0.001). There were a total of 149 advanced preparation doses that were wasted (21.7% of doses).

Conclusion: We have seen a statistically significant reduction in TAT for Advanced Preparation medications. Low volume of Advanced Preparation medications compared to total infusion volume limited impact on overall TAT.

Keywords: Pharmacy; drug compounding; patient care team; wait times; workflow.

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Medical Oncology
  • Outpatients
  • Pharmaceutical Services*
  • Pharmacy*
  • Workflow