Adherence to a standardized chemotherapy order form for colorectal cancer in a referral teaching hospital, Mashhad, Iran

Document Type: Research article


1 Department of Hematology and Oncology, Faculty of Medicine, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

2 Department of Clinical Pharmacy, Faculty of Pharmacy, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.

3 Cancer Research Center, Faculty of Medicine, Omid Hospital, Mashhad University of Medical Sciences, Mashhad, Iran.


Using standardized forms for prescription and administration of medications is one of the main solutions for reducing medication errors in the chemotherapy process. Considering the high prevalence and mortality rate of colorectal cancer, in this study we tried to design and validate a standard printed form and evaluate oncologists’ and nurses’ adherence to this form. This cross-sectional study was performed in Omid hospital, Mashhad, Iran from January 2015 to October 2015. A Chemotherapy form including various demographic and clinical parameters and approved chemotherapy regimens for colorectal cancer was designed by the clinical pharmacist and validated by clinical oncologists working in this center. All eligible patients admitted in this center during this period of time were included in the study. Adherence of the oncologists and nurses to this form and probable medication errors were identified by the pharmacy student.
Sixty-seven patients with colorectal cancer and a total of 251 chemotherapy courses were evaluated. All patients received regimens compatible with developed form but in 206 courses (98.56%) of chemotherapy dosing error happened and in most of cases patients received lower than calculated dose (37.8%). Three errors occurred in administration step by nurses which they infused the medication in shorter than recommended duration. In general, oncologists’ adherence with developed form for chemotherapy of colorectal cancer was relatively high, except in dose calculation. Avoiding from rounding the calculated medications’ doses and precise calculation of patients’ body surface area can prevent most of medication errors and reduce risk of adverse drug reaction occurrence.


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