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Dangerous infections slashed in cancer patients after implementation of electronic prescribing tool

April 13, 2016



Chemotherapy is one of the pillars of cancer care, but this strong treatment can also kill normal white blood cells, leaving cancer patients vulnerable to infections. In 2009, The Ottawa Hospital Cancer Centre implemented an electronic tool to prompt physicians to prescribe medication to prevent infections in patients receiving a certain kind of chemotherapy. Dr. Susan Dent and her colleagues recently combed through the medical records of 207 early-stage breast cancer patients receiving this chemotherapy, looking for signs of infections. They found that before the tool was implemented, 20 percent of patients experienced signs of infection (fever with low white blood cell levels) whereas after the tool was implemented, the rate dropped to just 5 percent. The results are published in Supportive Care in Cancer.

Authors: Sulpher J, Giguere P, Hopkins S, Dent S.


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The Ottawa Hospital is one of Canada’s largest learning and research hospitals with over 1,100 beds, approximately 12,000 staff and an annual budget of over $1.2 billion. Our focus on research and learning helps us develop new and innovative ways to treat patients and improve care. As a multi-campus hospital, affiliated with the University of Ottawa, we deliver specialized care to the Eastern Ontario region, but our techniques and research discoveries are adopted around the world. We engage the community at all levels to support our vision for better patient care.

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For further information, please contact


Jennifer Ganton
Director, Communications and Public Relations
Ottawa Hospital Research Institute
Office: 613-798-5555 x 73325
Cell: 613-614-5253
jganton@ohri.ca