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

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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.


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.


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.


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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