Assessing the impact of a targeted electronic medical record intervention on the use of growth factor in cancer patients

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Background—Patients receiving chemotherapy are at risk for febrile neutropenia following treatment. The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN) recommend screening patients for risk of febrile neutropenia and risk stratification based on likelihood of febrile neutropenia events. The impact of the implementation of an electronic medical record (EMR) system on physician compliance with growth factor support guidelines has not been studied. Objective—To investigate whether implementation of automated orders in EMRs can improve adherence to national guidelines in prophylactic G-CSF use in chemotherapy patients. Methods—A retrospective chart review of cancer patients receiving chemotherapy from January 1, 2007 to August 1, 2008 (pre-EMR) and January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011 (post-EMR) was conducted. Institutional adherence to ASCO and NCCN guidelines for G-CSF after the implementation of automatic electronic orders for pegfilgrastim in patients who received a highrisk chemotherapy regimen were examined. The results were compared with a similar study that had been conducted before the implementation of the EMR system. Results—The number of regimens that included guideline-driven growth factor usage and nonusage was 75.6% in the post-intervention arm, compared with 67.5% in the pre-intervention arm. This is a statistically significant difference between the pre-EMR and post-EMR compliance with national guidelines on growth factor usage ( P = .041, based on chi-square test). The postEMR implementation data of 1,042 individual new chemotherapy regimens showed correct use of G-CSF in 89.13% high-risk chemotherapy regimens and 58.74% intermediate-risk regimens, with risk factors and incorrect usage in 26.23% of intermediate-risk regimens without risk factors and 19.34% of low-risk regimens. The appropriateness of use in high- and low-risk regimens was the most compliant, because growth factor was built into chemotherapy plans of high-risk regimens and omitted from low-risk regimens. Limitations—This project was limited by a change in EMR systems at West Virginia University hospitals on January 1, 2009. All pre-EMR data was collected before 2009 and could not be further collected once the project began in 2013. Conclusions—Appropriateness of growth factor usage can be improved when integrated into an EMR. This can improve compliance and adherence to national recommendations. Further development and understanding of EMR is needed to improve usage to meet national guidelines, with particular attention paid to integration of risk factors into EMR to improve growth factor usage compliance.