Prescription Errors with Chemotherapy: Quality Improvement through Standardized Order Templates


Department of Pharmacy Practice School of Pharmacy Lebanese American University Byblos, Lebanon


Background: Despite the existence of established guidelines advocating the use and value of chemotherapy order templates, chemotherapy orders are still handwritten in many hospitals in Lebanon. This manuscript describes the implementation of standardized chemotherapy order templates (COT) in a Lebanese tertiary teaching hospital through multiple steps. Initial Assessment: An initial assessment was conducted through a retrospective appraisal of completeness of handwritten chemotherapy orders for 100 adult patients to serve as a baseline for the project and identify parameters that might afford improvement. Choice of solution: Development of over 300 standardized pre-printed COTs based on the National Comprehensive Cancer Network templates and adapted to the practice culture and patient population. Implementation: The COTs were implemented, using Kotter's 8-step model for leading change, by engaging health care providers, and identifying and removing barriers. Evaluation: Assessment of physicians' compliance with the new practice (122 orders assessed) was completed through two phases and allowed for the identification of areas of improvement. Lessons Learned: Overall, COT implementation showed an average improvement in order completion from 49.5% (handwritten orders) to 77.6% (phase 1-COT) to 87.6% (phase 2-COT) reflecting an increase of 38.1% between baseline and phase 2 and demonstrating that chemotherapy orders completeness was improved by pre-printed COT. As many of the hospitals in Lebanon are moving towards standardized COTs and computerized physician order entry (CPOE) in the next few years, this study provides a prototype for the successful implementation of COT and demonstrates their role in promoting quality improvement of cancer care.