A Guide To Medication Management for Oncology

Effective medication management is increasingly important for healthcare systems that are growing in complexity, size and capability. Nowhere is this more evident than in oncology. Regularly at the cutting edge of medical science, reliant on a wide range of medications and treatments, and requiring extensive collaboration between multidisciplinary healthcare professionals, oncology demands rigorous digital solutions that improve patient safety, support healthcare workers and facilitate enhanced resource management.

In this guide, we explore medication management in oncology, examining the benefits of a powerful medication management system, the unique challenges the field of oncology poses, and how digital solutions can positively impact the care provided.

What is medication management?

In a general sense, medication management refers to the process of using medicines safely and cost-effectively to maximise the benefits to patients while minimising potential dangers (DoH). As such, it involves a wide range of medication-related activities, including prescribing, administering and monitoring.

Medication management is an essential component of complex modern healthcare systems and has evolved to reflect the opportunities and challenges posed by today’s treatments. In this sense, it incorporates processes from every aspect of healthcare provision. While clinical outcomes are clearly a primary factor, medication management must also concern itself with the financial, operational and logistical issues inherent in providing healthcare to large populations.  

Five essential aspects of medication management

Medication management typically encompasses five key areas:

  1. Medication storage
  2. Dispensing medication
  3. Medication administration
  4. Proper medication disposal
  5. Medication monitoring and long-term record-keeping.

These five areas are not controlled and managed by self-contained teams and require significant collaboration between various parts of the healthcare service. Consequently, healthcare providers must implement processes, techniques and technologies that facilitate clear communication, streamlined collaboration and established medication management workflows.

The benefits of medication management

An effective medication management system benefits both patients and healthcare providers. It does so in the following ways:

1. Optimal treatment outcomes

First and foremost, well-designed medication management systems ensure patients receive the correct medications at the appropriate doses and required frequencies. This is essential if healthcare providers are to achieve the desired treatment outcomes and manage medical conditions most effectively.

2. Minimising medication errors

On a fundamental level, medication management systems minimise errors by ensuring medication information is readily available, up-to-date and presented in a clear and understandable manner. However, more advanced medication management systems can also incorporate more thorough checks and warning systems that help to minimise the scope for human error and prevent mistakes that may have devastating consequences. This may involve healthcare professionals responsible for administering medication entering essential information before delivering medicines or a digital checklist to assist them in safe administration.

3. Targeted and personal care

Monitoring is just as important a part of medication management as storage and administration, as it allows for more responsive and personal treatment. Patients react to medication differently, and dosages and frequencies need altering to reflect treatment progression. Changes in approach are often required if a patient’s health suddenly declines or they stop responding to the medications as expected. Careful monitoring makes care more targeted to the individual, improving health outcomes and the efficacy of the medication administered.

4. Cost-effective medication use

All healthcare systems and providers face financial pressures. And these challenges affect the way we deliver care. Organisations cannot afford to squander, waste or misuse expensive medications if they wish to provide cost-effective care. Robust medication management systems seek to optimise medicine use, helping providers manage costs.

By minimising the scope for error, medication management systems also reduce the long-term costs associated with treatment mismanagement. For instance, administration errors can result in patients requiring extended treatment or complications that lead to more health issues, increasing the costs associated with that patient. Similarly, mistakes can have expensive legal complications that require considerable financial compensation.

5. Mitigation of side effects

Many treatments require healthcare professionals to prescribe and administer several medicines to a single patient. While modern practitioners have an excellent understanding of how different medications interact and the side effects that can result, they need high-quality medication management systems to ensure access to all relevant information.

Without a comprehensive and accurate understanding of the entire treatment journey, healthcare professionals will struggle to manage and mitigate side effects. This can impact patients, treatment quality, and whether additional healthcare resources are required.

6. Improved patient adherence

Finally, not all medication is administered by healthcare professionals. In many cases, patients also play a role in their treatment, particularly when managing long-term conditions over an extended period. In these cases, medication management systems and technologies can improve patient adherence to the treatment plan.

One way they can achieve this is by facilitating clear communication and making information about medications and how they are administered more accessible. In this respect, medication management systems also have a crucial educational component. Easy access to reminders and medication information means patients can source approved and reliable information themselves rather than relying on healthcare professionals. This removes a critical barrier to adherence.

Medication management in oncology presents unique challenges

While medication management is a feature of almost all types of healthcare provision, oncology poses several unique challenges. These considerations distinguish it from other areas of healthcare.

Complex treatment plans

Treating cancer often requires a complex treatment approach that combines surgery, chemotherapy, immunotherapy and other targeted measures. These must be carefully coordinated to ensure medication is administered in the appropriate order and dosage.

Tailored treatment plans

Oncology is at the forefront of developments in tailored precision treatments that are adapted to a patient’s unique genetic profile. This type of treatment depends on the successful selection and accurate administration of medications for that individual, making management much more intricate and increasing the possibility of human error.

Regular adaptations to medication

Oncology treatments are often dynamic and require rapid adaptations and alterations based on how an individual responds and how the cancer progresses. It makes careful monitoring essential and rewards quick and clear communication between all healthcare professionals involved in treatment.

Use of supporting medications

Along with the primary medications utilised in oncology treatments, healthcare professionals utilise a host of supporting medicines to manage side effects. These include pain, nausea and blood cell production medications. Managing safe prescription and administration becomes increasingly complex as more supporting medications are used.

Involvement in clinical trials

Finally, many oncology patients opt to participate in clinical trials to access new treatments and experimental medications. Such trials often depend on specific study protocols to ensure the accuracy and relevance of results and require strict monitoring of side effects and healthcare outcomes. Understanding how these medications respond to the other medicines administered is also vital.

The practical application of medication management solutions in oncology

Advanced oncology medication management solutions are designed to maximise patient safety, assist healthcare professionals and facilitate improved communication between prescribers, pharmacies, doctors and nurses. They support a wide range of treatments, such as chemotherapy, immunotherapy and hormone therapy, and cover all aspects of oncology medication. 

End-to-end digital oncology medication management systems also aim to connect the entire treatment timeline, encouraging the free flow of information between those providing care. In some instances, they may also include patient-facing portals that enable individuals to log in via a secure app and access information concerning their medication and how to self-administer.

These systems incorporate features and functionalities that enhance medication management across the following healthcare processes.


Digital medication management solutions can assist with the creation of a comprehensive treatment plan by enabling individualised dosing based on laboratory results and clinical observations. They can be adapted to relevant national and international guidelines and incorporate standardised protocols to ensure medication planning is safe, reflects the healthcare provider’s obligations, and meets necessary regulations.

In doing so, the solution makes medication planning easier, quicker and more effective. At the same time, collaboration on planning is smoother, and the results are available to all those involved in healthcare provision immediately.


Digital oncology medication management solutions can also play a critical role in the simplification and accuracy of prescription processes. They provide access to patients’ previous treatment histories, assist with selecting the right treatment course and offer support to healthcare professionals when ordering the appropriate medications.

They also include more rigorous checks and balances that help prevent incorrect data entries and features that aid accurate dose calculation. These functionalities are particularly valuable in oncology, where the high-pressure, high-consequence environment necessitates a system that reduces opportunities for human error.


Digital oncology solutions are more powerful and versatile when designed to integrate well with other healthcare systems. Pharmacy production is one area where this is particularly evident. Integrations with national medicine repositories and external pharmacy systems will result in more efficient compounding workflows and processes.

Additionally, support for generic substitution and features such as built-in rounding rules for medications simplify the work involved and minimise mistakes. Ideally, digital solutions will also include some configurability, allowing pharmacists to adapt workflows to their operational needs.


When it comes to administration, digital oncology solutions support nurses and improve safety. They can include electronic templates that encourage administration according to recognised procedures, such as the Five Rs – the right patient, the right drug, the right dose, the right time and the right administration route.

The systems should also allow for ward-by-ward configuration and unique checks and protocols for different healthcare roles. Features like medication barcode scanning can further enhance safety, while a complete log of medication administration creates a fully traceable history and facilitates greater transparency and accountability.

Reporting, analytics and management

As with any aspect of healthcare provision, oncology medication management benefits from access to comprehensive statistics and analytics tools that enable you to take advantage of the data collected. With this in mind, digital solutions should incorporate features that help healthcare organisations leverage health, medication usage and treatment outcome data.

The ability to display and communicate this data in a simplified manner is also extremely valuable. For instance, pre-defined reports and graphical interpretations make the data far more accessible and easier to understand and utilise.

Cost and quality control

One of the primary ways digital oncology medication management solutions deliver cost savings is by streamlining healthcare professionals’ workflows, enabling them to do more with less. However, they also assist in other ways. Minimisation of medication waste is also vital, and improved access to patient data enables more informed decision-making, resulting in superior treatment outcomes and lower treatment costs.

It is also essential to recognise that digital solutions ensure more standardised and consistent treatment approaches and medication administration. In turn, this leads to more predictable healthcare outcomes.


Often, treatment does not end just because a patient is discharged from an oncology ward. Further medication is necessary at home, and encouraging adherence to the agreed treatment plan both improves treatment outcomes and reduces the likelihood of complications or readmission to healthcare facilities at a later date.

For this reason, medication management solutions can include patient-facing components that provide individuals with notifications and reminders, include essential information about medicines, and allow healthcare professionals to monitor treatment adherence and progress. These features also engage patients in their care, helping them take a more proactive role as opposed to being passive recipients of care.

Oncology medication management with Omda

At Omda, we believe digital solutions can potentially connect all aspects of oncology healthcare provision, creating a safer, more efficient and more collaborative medication management system. The Omda Medication Management portfolio incorporates all of the features discussed in this article, facilitating a system that supports and empowers healthcare professionals, improves patient safety and healthcare outcomes, and enables better management of available healthcare resources. With a user-focused design, the solution emphasises the free flow of information between teams and incorporates the safe and effective prescription, administration and monitoring of oncology medications.

To learn more about our oncology technology, visit the Omda Medication Management solution page and feel free reach out to the Omda team via the contact form.

Emelie Ahlberg
Product Manager, Medication Management

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She is based in the company’s headquarters in Oslo, Norway.

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