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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