Wirral University Teaching Hospital NHS Foundation has become the first in the UK to implement a Cerner-supplied oncology management system for better planning chemotherapy for patients with blood cancer.

The initiative forms part of WUTH’s plans to become fully digital over the next two years as it develops as an NHS Global Digital Exemplar site.

Powerchart Oncology system, which forms part of the trust’s Cerner Millennium EPR, offers greater support when planning chemotherapy for blood cancer patients, linking together appointment scheduling, chemotherapy prescribing, clinical documentation, pharmacy verification, administration and discharge of haematology patients, including generation of clinic letters.

According to a Cerner press release, Powerchart Oncology enhances patient safety by providing an automatic calculation of the medication dosage. The system is also said to enhance the clinical checks carried out before chemotherapy is administered and only allows certain tasks to be carried out by appropriately trained staff.

Barbara Hammer, consultant haematologist at WUTH, said: “The whole chemotherapy prescribing process is now much more efficient as the system captures the entire chemotherapy process from prescribing, pharmacy checking and administration by our nurses.”

Dr Hammer explained the system also includes electronic scheduling of all appointments and the automatic generation of clinic letters to the patients GP.

“Relevant blood results, chemotherapy-related side effects, changes in patients’ weight and any previous chemotherapy dose changes are clearly visible to everybody involved in the chemotherapy process. Abnormal results which require chemotherapy dose changes are always flagged up and all chemotherapy doses are calculated electronically which reduces human error through the use of a strictly automated process.”

The system also includes electronic referrals for counselling appointments with the trust’s clinical nurse specialists, procedures such as bone marrow examinations and for weekly multi-disciplinary team meetings during which patients’ results are discussed and treatments are planned.

Some of these referrals are generated automatically at the end of the chemotherapy course. “Prior to the implementation of Powerchart Oncology all these referrals were done on paper which was much more time consuming and a lot less organised,” said Dr Hammer.

“Prior to the implementation of Powerchart Oncology all these referrals were done on paper which was much more time consuming and a lot less organised,” said Dr Hammer.

WUHT started using Powerchart Oncology at the beginning of February 2017.

The foundation trust is a UK reference site for Cerner and ‘first of its kind’ customer for technologies including Cerner’s Population Health platform.

Geoff Segal, General Manager, Cerner UK, said: “As with all successful projects, the Wirral oncology digital project was a combined effort that brought together the best of WUTH and Cerner. The joint expertise to deliver the best workflow came together and really showed what good partnership is all about.

“We believe that better patient outcomes start with us and having worked with WUTH for almost nine years, it is clear that we share the same values. It is very exciting to have such a great partner to jointly bring innovations to the UK market with the express goals of benefiting patients and clinicians alike.”