The American Society of Clinical Oncology (ASCO) and ONS are conducting an ongoing collaborative project to use a rigorous, consensus-based process to develop standards for safe administration of chemotherapy. Current ASCO/ONS standards address safety of all routes of chemotherapy administration to adult patients in the outpatient setting and inpatient setting.
The ASCO/ONS chemotherapy safety standards are intended to reduce the risk of errors when providing adult patients with chemotherapy, and to provide a framework for best practices in cancer care. Specifically, they can inform practice policies and procedures, internal quality assessment, and external quality monitoring.
In December 2008, ASCO and ONS held a workshop to develop consensus regarding standards for safe administration of chemotherapy to adult patients in the outpatient setting. Although relevant guidelines and policy statements existed (e.g., Controlling Occupational Exposure to Hazardous Drugs, Chapter 2: Safe Handling of Chemotherapy Drugs [OSHA]; Chemotherapy and Biotherapy Guidelines and Recommendations for Practice [ONS]; Criteria for Facilities and Personnel for the Administration of Parenteral Systemic Antineoplastic Therapy [ASCO]), specific requirements to promote patient safety had not been well defined by key stakeholders. The complexity of administration of antineoplastic agents and the potential safety issues involved are unique to oncology care and require careful consideration.
A description of the ASCO/ONS chemotherapy safety standards process for development, consensus, and refinement as well as a discussion of the standards and results are available on the ASCO website,
To assist in the implementation of these standards and to review and develop needed policies and procedures, a guide is available on the ASCO website.