By Jennifer Hinkel, NCCN e-Bulletin Editor-in-Chief
The November NCCN Trends™ survey, one of a series of monthly surveys distributed to clinicians who access NCCN information products through NCCN.org, included questions on ordering chemotherapy and use of compendia as oncology references. A question about chemotherapy ordering examined whether practices were ordering with a fully integrated computerized order entry system (CPOE or COE), generating orders via computer but then printing them for use, writing orders on pre-printed forms or ordersets, or writing orders without pre-printed forms. More than one-third of respondents (34.7%) stated that their ordering system was paper-based using a pre-printed form or orderset. Approximately one out of four responding clinicians (25.3%) were using a fully integrated CPOE/COE system, and another 21.7% were generating orders with a computer but then printing them for use. About 18% of responding clinicians hand-write orders for chemotherapy.
This data contrasts slightly with a survey NCCN conducted in late 2008 of users of the NCCN Chemotherapy Order Templates™. In that survey, 30% of the 586 respondents reported using hand-written orders for chemotherapy, while 25% used pre-printed forms or ordersets. While these surveys did not necessarily reach identical survey populations, this information may indicate a shift away from hand-written chemotherapy orders to other formats, such as pre-printed forms, computer-generated orders, and CPOE/COE. The 2008 survey showed that smaller practices (one to four physicians) were more likely to use hand-written orders while larger practices (10 or more physicians) were more likely to use computer-based systems. Further analysis of the November 2009 Trends data could examine this trend to see if computer-based systems continue to be used primarily by larger groups or practices.
Other questions in the November 2009 survey asked clinicians which compendia and drug references they are using to obtain information on oncology drugs and biologics and for what purposes they are accessing these reference materials. More than half (57%) of the respondents said that they referenced the NCCN Drugs & Biologics Compendium™ on a regular basis. Other frequently referenced compendia or drug references included DRUGDEX, Clinical Pharmacology, and Epocrates.
Respondents were also asked about the purposes for which they used drug compendia. The most frequently selected responses were for adverse reactions, drug dosing, drug interactions, and contraindications/warnings.
NCCN Trends™ surveys are distributed monthly to clinicians who have registered to access NCCN information products, including the NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™, on the NCCN.org website. Each survey typically asks five questions, and survey participants receive a summary report that allows them to benchmark their responses against the aggregate responses to each question.