Cancer Care Ontario and eHealth Ontario Partner to Deliver Safer Chemotherapy Treatment

TORONTO, June 9, 2011 /Canada NewsWire/ - Cancer Care Ontario (CCO) has received $9.7 million from eHealth Ontario to improve the quality, safety and efficiency of systemic (chemotherapy) treatment across the province.

Chemotherapy drug ordering is one of the most complex processes in patient care. The Oncology Patient Information System (OPIS) automates the former paper-based chemotherapy drug ordering process and improves patient safety by:

...allowing the immediate electronic communication among cancer care providers to ensure reliable and efficient care

...replacing handwritten prescriptions to reduce prescription errors and adverse drug events
flagging drug allergies to prevent adverse drug events

"This is good news for all patients and their families battling cancer. Ensuring cancer patients are getting the safest and most effective treatment possible is vitally important. This investment will advance chemotherapy treatment standards and help CCO track data so that, together, we can plan to improve cancer care across the province," said Deb Matthews, Minister of Health and Long-Term Care.

Today, 62 per cent of systemic treatment visits are supported by OPIS in 33 cancer treatment sites. This funding will allow CCO to introduce OPIS to an additional 15 sites.

"eHealth Ontario's Medication Management strategy is focused on improving patient safety and minimizing preventable adverse drug events through the online management of prescription medications. We are pleased to be funding the expansion of OPIS to 15 new sites to support this strategy. Together with CCO, we are focusing on improving chemotherapy delivery within a hospital setting and leveraging opportunities for collaboration," said Greg A. Reed, President and CEO, eHealth Ontario.

The project, expected to be complete by March 31, 2013, also supports a number of other initiatives, including:

...enhancing CCO's drug formulary eTool, a publicly available information resource on cancer drugs which serves as a reference for clinicians, administrators and patients

...sharing Systemic Treatment Computerized Physician Order Entry best practice guidelines to facilitate the consistent delivery of high quality, safe patient care

...expanding data collection to help support performance measurement and quality improvement of the cancer system

...improving the hospital electronic claims process for the New Drug Funding Program which funds innovative, and often expensive, intravenous cancer drugs

"CCO is committed to the ongoing development, use, and sustainability of OPIS as the chemotherapy drug order entry product-of-choice for Ontario's hospitals. OPIS standardizes how chemotherapy is ordered and enables health providers to collaborate in real-time, producing a winning solution for patients, clinicians, and Ontario's cancer system," said Michael Sherar, President and CEO, Cancer Care Ontario.

Quick Facts:

...In the past five years, it is estimated that OPIS has prevented approximately 8,500 adverse drug events, 5,000 physician office visits, 750 hospitalizations, 57 deaths, and saved millions in annual health-care costs.

...Approximately one in every three Canadians will develop cancer in their lifetime. Between 30 and 60 per cent of all cancer patients will require some form of chemotherapy.

Cancer Care Ontario is the provincial agency responsible for continually improving cancer services. As the government's cancer advisor, Cancer Care Ontario works to reduce the number of people diagnosed with cancer, and make sure patients receive better care every step of the way.

eHealth Ontario plays the leading role in harnessing technology and innovation to improve patient care, safety and access in support of the government's health strategy. The agency is responsible for implementing the government's ehealth agenda and creating electronic health records for Ontarians.