Adherence to antiemetic guidelines in patients with malignant glioma: a quality improvement project to translate evidence into practice

Mary Lou Affronti, Susan M Schneider, James E Herndon, Susan Schlundt, Henry S Friedman
Supportive Care in Cancer 2014, 22 (7): 1897-905

PURPOSE: A quality improvement project was implemented to improve adherence to evidence-based antiemetic guidelines for malignant glioma patients treated with moderately emetic chemotherapy (MEC). Poorly controlled chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting (CINV) reduce cancer treatment efficacy and significantly impair cancer patients' quality of life (QOL). A review of Duke University Preston Robert Tisch Brain Tumor Center (PRTBTC)'s usual practice demonstrates a high incidence (45%) of CINV, despite premedication with short-acting 5-HT3-serotonin-receptor antagonists (5-HT3-RAs). National Comprehensive Cancer Network (NCCN)'s evidence-based guidelines recommend the combination of the long-acting 5-HT3-RA palonosetron (PAL) and dexamethasone (DEX) for the prevention of acute and delayed CINV with MEC. Low adherence (58%) to antiemetic guidelines may have explained our high CINV incidence.

METHODS: One-sample binomial test, quasi-experimental design, evaluated a combination intervention that included a provider education session; implementation of risk-assessment tool with computerized, standardized antiemetic guideline order sets; and a monthly audit-feedback strategy. Post-implementation adherence to evidence-based antiemetic order sets and patient outcomes were measured and compared to baseline and historical data. Primary outcome was the guideline order set adherence rate. Secondary outcomes included nausea/vomiting rates and QOL.

RESULTS: Adherence to ordering MEC guideline antiemetics increased significantly, from 58% to a sustained 90%, with associated improvement in nausea/vomiting. In acute and delayed phases, 75 and 84% of patients, respectively, did not experience CINV. There was no significant change in QOL.

CONCLUSION: Combination intervention and audit-feedback strategy to translate evidence into oncology practice improved and sustained adherence to antiemetic guidelines. Adherence corresponded with effective nausea/vomiting control and preserved QOL in patients with malignant gliomas.

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