Quality statement 3: Electronic prescribing of chemotherapy

Quality statement

Children and young people (aged 0–24 years) receiving chemotherapy have it prescribed using an electronic prescribing system.

Rationale

There are a number of risks associated with prescribing and administering chemotherapy. Electronic prescribing of chemotherapy should be used in all settings to help reduce the risks. However, at present it is widely used in adult cancer care but not available in all children's chemotherapy services. Chemotherapy regimens for children and young people are varied and often very complex, and there is a high risk of error in calculating the correct doses, fluid volumes and scheduling. Drug dose and fluid volume calculations are based on weight and body surface area. Electronic prescribing systems perform the calculations and support safer prescribing.

Quality measures

Structure

Evidence of local arrangements to ensure that all children and young people (aged 0–24 years) receiving chemotherapy have it prescribed using an electronic prescribing system.

Data source: Local data collection. National Cancer Peer Review Programme Manual for cancer services: children's cancer measures: 11-7B-161 Computer generated prescriptions.

Outcome

The number of patient safety incidents in children and young people (aged 0–24 years) related to chemotherapy prescriptions.

Data source: Local data collection.

What the quality statement means for service providers, healthcare professionals and commissioners

Service providers ensure that an electronic prescribing system is in place for children and young people (aged 0–24 years) receiving chemotherapy.

Healthcare professionals use electronic prescribing systems for prescribing chemotherapy regimens for children and young people (aged 0–24 years).

Commissioners work with service providers to ensure that children and young people (aged 0–24 years) receiving chemotherapy have it prescribed using an electronic prescribing system.

What the quality statement means for patients, service users and carers

Children and young people with cancer receiving chemotherapy have the correct amount of drugs and fluids, and when to have them, calculated by a computer-based prescribing system.

Source guidance

Definitions of terms used in this quality statement

Electronic prescribing system

A computer package that calculates the correct chemotherapy doses, fluids and scheduling for each child and young person based on previously entered and verified data. The system should be suitable for use with paediatric chemotherapy regimens. [Expert opinion]