Medical Surveillance for Hazardous Drugs: A Qualitative Assessment of Current Practices

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Abstract

Objective:

The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health recommends that institutions establish a medical surveillance program for workers who handle hazardous drugs. Our aim was to investigate current practices with occupational medicine practice (OMP) national leaders.

Methods:

A series of qualitative telephone interviews were conducted with 11 OMP national leaders from medical centers in 10 states. Interviews were recorded, transcribed, and coded using a directed content analysis. Codes were organized into themes.

Results:

All respondents were board-certified physicians in medical center OMP. Interviews up to 45 minutes found three themes: policy interpretation, benefits and barriers to surveillance, and potential respondent-generated solutions. Three of 10 medical centers provided medical surveillance.

Conclusions:

Medical surveillance for hazardous drugs is infrequent, and consensus is lacking regarding standard practices. Further work is needed to minimize risk to health care workers.

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