BD Oncology

What is digital oncology and how can it benefit your organisation?

Digital technology is transforming the delivery of healthcare. It is impacting patients, healthcare professionals, and organisations.

For patients, the digital landscape involves wearable devices, apps, and online communities. For healthcare professionals it’s decision support and e-prescribing, mobile working, and telehealth between colleagues and with patients. For organisations, it’s predictive analytics and risk stratification, standardised workflows, shared Electronic Health Records and real-time data, and patient flow management.1

Many of these aspects can be seen with digital oncology, defined by the Lancet as “a computational approach aimed to aid oncological practice by predicting drug response, improving cancer diagnostics and treatment, facilitating patient care, and optimising health-care systems.”2

The right digital oncology solutions can have a significant impact at all stages along the oncology care pathway, improving efficiency, enhancing patient safety, and reducing costs.

Connected workflows and interoperability

Technological interventions have failed in the past due to simply being layered on top of existing structures and work patterns, creating additional workload for healthcare professionals.1That is why it is important to have connected workflows that streamline processes.

BD Cato™ is an example of a digital technology solution that connects workflows. It is an integrated software system that provides support throughout all stages of therapy within oncology, from long-term prescription planning, to the preparation and administration of cytotoxic drugs and other critical substances. It interfaces with hospital information systems to enable transfer of data, and allows healthcare professionals full oversight of a patient’s digital health and care pathway.

BD Cato™ can help improve communication between physicians, pharmacy staff and nurses due to connecting workflows; electronic prescriptions are automatically sent to pharmacy, amendments to a patient’s care plan made electronically can be seen in real-time, and nurses can see at what stage of preparation a patient’s chemotherapy is at within the pharmacy.

Decision support tools

Decision support tools within oncology can range from electronic aids, such as hyperlinks to chemotherapy guidelines, to more active systems that alert the user of potential drug interactions or prescribing errors.

The prescribing module of BD Cato™ combines decision support tools with electronic prescribing. It encourages use of best-practice guidelines due to pre-built digital oncology protocols and therapy plans, standardising treatment pathways. Automatic dose calculations and cumulative dose calculations, with alerts if pre-defined values are exceeded, support the physician during prescribing, and helps reduce prescribing errors.5

One study showed that using
BD Cato™ ReadyMed saved 3 hours 24 minutes of nursing time daily in a hospital oncology day unit
when compared to manual administration, whilst also reducing administration errors.7

Replacing resource-intensive tasks

Digital health technologies within oncology can be used to replace many resource-intensive tasks, freeing up staff time to perform more clinical or operational value-added tasks.

The BD Cato™ Pharmacy module connects with hardware such as barcode scanners, gravimetric scales and cameras during the chemotherapy compounding process to automate many of the documentation and verification steps that are usually performed manually. A study demonstrated how this reduced technician compounding time and pharmacist final verification time by 34% and 37% respectively.6

A barcoded medication administration (BCMA) system, such as BD Cato™ ReadyMed, can improve efficiency of the IV administration process within oncology. A BCMA system is a documentation, checking and tracking programme used by nurses that electronically fulfils the manual task of checking the 5 rights of administration. One study showed that using BD Cato™ ReadyMed saved 3 hours 24 minutes of nursing time daily in a hospital oncology day unit when compared to manual administration, whilst also reducing administration errors.7

Investing in data and analytics

Healthcare leaders are increasingly recognising the importance of investing in data and analytics. It enables them to generate learning and insight from the data collected within both clinical and non-clinical systems1. Data sharing across multiple settings is essential to supporting coordinated care, and data analytics can drive improvement in many areas, including operational processes.

BD Cato™ provides automated data capture that enables documentation, compliance, and production analytics. For example, it can produce a range of reports to permit the management and optimisation of inventory, the monitoring of drug waste, and the measuring of productivity.

Mobile working

As the pandemic has demonstrated, healthcare organisations have had to adapt to new flexile ways of working. This often requires healthcare professionals to be able to access patient and other data remotely. Implementing digital health solutions within oncology is key to be able to achieve this.

BWith BD Cato™, remote accessibility of the system is possible whilst maintaining strict security and information governance standards. This makes it possible for physicians to prescribe treatment, pharmacists to verify orders and nurses to view treatment plans from remote or offsite locations.


Digital solutions need to be integrated into the patient pathway and in healthcare team practices for optimal care within in oncology. The nature of oncology treatment is becoming increasing complex, and therefore physicians and other healthcare professionals having reliable devices and technology at their disposal to assist them in their role is important. Additionally, through the use of data analytics, organisations can drive improvements along the oncology care pathway, achieving the ultimate goal of better serving its patients and healthcare staff.

Proven in action

“I like the Cato™ system because of the documentation and its ease of use. It’s easy to communicate with doctors, pharmacists, nurses, technicians: everybody is in the same system. So, I would say that BD Cato™ has made our system clearer, safer and we have definitely reduced the time spent on documenting procedures.” Said Ülle Helena Meren, Head of Pharmacy, East Tallinn Central Hospital. What’s more, the clinic showed that BD Cato™ doubled the output of compounded doses per annum without an increase in staff headcount.7

Read the full case study here

Where BD can play a part



Drug prescription

Clinician prescribes chemotherapy on BD Cato™ Prescribe

BD Cato™ Prescribe:

  • Aligns prescription with latest clinical results
  • Automatic warning of dosage modifications and dose limits

Prescription is sent electronically to the pharmacy.


Venous access

A port is a vascular access device implanted into the patient to provide repeated access to the vascular system. Safe chemotherapy treatment rely on safe vascular access.



Order verification

Pharmacist-verified order is sent electronically to BD Cato™ Pharmacy. BD Cato™ Pharmacy automaticallyprioritizes orders according to the patient scheduler. Pharmacist can select the shortest dated vial to ensure that drug wastage is limited.


Drug preparation

BD PhaSeal™ close system transfer device is used for preparation and theBD MicroBore secondary set is used to spike the bag


Gravimetric analysis

Gravimetric scales checks the right dose is drawn via drug density calculation. Scan the barcode on the vial to identify the right drug. Camera capture each step.


Drug verification

Unique barcode medication label is printed once all steps are a corrected followed. Pharmacist verifies preparation.



Patient preparation

Nurse prepares patient for administration of hazardous drugs utilizing closed system transfer deviceBD MicroBore set.


Patient assessment

BD Cato™ ReadyMed check if it is the right part in and right drug and will automatically document this is the system.


Pump programming

Use BD BodyGuard™ Duo with its two independent infusion channels in one intuituve, user-friendly interface, which can help simplify the infusion of even the most complex therapies.

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