Health information technology in oncology practice: a literature review

From Clinfowiki
Jump to: navigation, search


Increasing adoption and implementation of health information technology (HIT), which focuses on the meaningful use, and quality and safety improvement, are becoming a main stream of healthcare reform in the U.S.. Currently, an electronic health record (EHR) integrated with a computerized physician order entry (CPOE), clinical decision support systems (CDSSs), and Result Reporting Information Systems (RRISs) seems a major strategy and means to achieve aforementioned outcomes. The following article displays a narrative review focusing on the current use of CPOE and CDSSs in oncology practice. Having analyzed information retrieved through pre-selected literature, the authors provided insightful observations and constructive suggestions as to how oncologists can overcome main obstacles in order to take advantage of HIT in cancer treatment. Furthermore, the authors also envisioned what future HIT is going to hold in the oncology field [1].


Current Role of Health Information Technology in the Healthcare System

  • EHR is the core of HIT applications.
  • To achieve the meaningful use and quality improvement, appropriate integration of CPOE, CDSSs, and RRISs is essential.
  • Standards are needed for health information exchange and improvement of interoperability among different systems.
  • Relevant research and study of HIT in oncology:
  1. Health information systems and their application, evaluation, and organization.
  2. Collection and use of medical knowledge such as clinical guidelines, ontologies, databases, and natural language.
  3. Data analysis for imaging, signal, and other relevant information, including classification techniques, statistical modeling, and microarrays.

Anatomy and Physiology of HIT in Oncology

Oncology-specified EHRs

  • Tumor staging.
  • Multidisciplinary and data-intensive workflow.
  • Chemotherapy dosing and administration.
  • Toxicity assessment and management.
  • Clinical trial and protocol management.
  • Drug inventory management.
  • Survivorship care.
  • Chemotherapy/Drug Management.
  • Oncology-specific Billing Charge.
  • Calendar/Scheduler.
  • Clinical Trials and Research.
  • Compliance Safeguards.

The Impact of HIT on the Daily Practice of a Medical Oncologist

  • The use of storage, process, and transmission of patient data.
  • Improvement of patient care quality and safety.
  • Data extraction for oncological research support.
  • Facilitate communication between physicians and improve patient-physician relationships.

The Main Obstacles to HIT Adoption

  • Costs and return on investment.
  • Complexity of the systems.
  • Massive time commitment and increased workload.
  • Information security and patient privacy.
  • Impact on clinician’s productivity.


  • Quality of cancer care.
  • Data mining and research.
  • Improvement of patient-centered care.


Despite potential benefits of EHR with relevant decision support systems, there are insufficient studies that provide decisive answers in terms of whether and how HIT could ultimately provide beneficial effects and unmet needs on cancer patient care. There are still many challenges and problems in cancer patient care involved in the utilization of HIT. However, full involvement and commitment of oncologists may eventually pave a way towards incremental improvement of patient care in the oncological field.


  1. Fasola, G., Macerelli, M., Follador, A., Rihawi, K., Aprile, G., & Della Mea, V. (2014). Health information technology in oncology practice: a literature review. Cancer Informatics, 13, 131–139.