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Innovative UBC-BC Cancer Agency system reduces waitlisting for chemotherapy patients
Date:6/28/2011

The stress of scheduling chemotherapy treatments has been substantially reduced by a new technology created and implemented by a team of researchers from the Sauder School of Business at the University of British Columbia and the BC Cancer Agency.

Called Chemo SmartBook, the innovative new scheduling system was recently awarded an Excellence in BC Health Care Award from the Health Employers Association of British Columbia in the category of "Top Innovation Health Authority."

Since its June 2010 launch by the BC Cancer Agency at its Vancouver Centre, Chemo SmartBook has reduced the number of patients who receive fewer than seven days notice of an appointment by 58 per cent and decreased the number of waitlisted patients by 84 per cent.

Chemo SmartBook employs mathematical optimization techniques similar to those driving the complex schedules of airlines and manufacturing companies. Its computer-based system automatically assigns patients to nurses, balances workloads, alerts pharmacists of daily schedules and meets patient appointment preferences. An easy to use web-based interface was created to allow schedulers to arrange and communicate appointments, often immediately after chemotherapy is prescribed.

These innovations replaced a daunting paper-based scheduling system that required clerks to arrange more than 60 appointments a day, while keeping in mind the mixing of drugs, the balancing of workloads and the availability of equipment. The system was stretched and patients were frequently unable to learn when they were to receive treatment at the time it was prescribed.

"In a large percentage of cases, patients were being notified as little as one day in advance of their appointments," says Sauder Prof. Martin Puterman, who first identified the need for the project while navigating the treatment process with his wife who had been diagnosed with breast cancer.

"I wanted to help reduce patient stress
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Contact: lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
lorraine.chan@ubc.ca
604-822-2644
University of British Columbia
Source:Eurekalert

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