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New Tools Helping Patients at the BC Cancer Agency

April 29, 2013

Scott again with a final posting. 

Chemo SmartBook is making things better for BC Cancer Agency patients as well as the staff who treat them. This remarkable computer-based scheduling system and optimization tool was developed by our CIHR team in consultation with Vancouver Cancer Centre nurses and pharmacists, to let patients know a week in advance the precise time of their chemotherapy appointment.

One reason for its development was to reduce patient stress arising from uncertainty about appointment times, but it also has had other benefits:

Imagine the challenge appointment schedulers face each day when assigning 75 patients who receive one of 600 treatments to 43 chairs and ten nurses at some time between 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. And, they must simultaneously balance nurse and pharmacist workload and take into account patient start time preferences. Before they had access to Chemo SmartBook, schedulers used pencils and paper to carry out this complex task.

The tool has been used daily at the Vancouver Centre for close to three years and at the Centre for the Southern Interior for that last six months. Work is underway to extend its use to other BC Cancer Agency Centres. Also, many cancer centres across Canada have expressed interest in Chemo SmartBook and we hope it will become part of mainstream operations in the near future.

It has been a pleasure to share my work with you this month. 

Thanks for reading,