Implementation of pharmacy services in 22 oncology clinics

Presentation Notes

2014 ASCO Quality Care Symposium, General Poster Session B: Cost, Value, and Policy in Quality and Practice of Quality


Background: Our integrated health care system consisted of 15 hospitals and 159 clinics. Since 2011, 22 private practice oncology clinics transitioned to hospital-based clinics. This presented an opportunity to standardize safe and effective pharmacy services at these locations.

Methods: Using patient volumes, system leaders determined six pharmacists would serve the 22 new clinics via telepharmacy. Baseline pharmacy services to be offered were prospective order verification, product checking and drug information dissemination. To prepare for the transition, over 25 physicians agreed to standardize electronic order sets and develop one formulary. Vial sizes were consolidated and a uniform way to prepare each chemotherapy agent was designated. Over 75 policies were reviewed and updated. Education was provided to all caregivers prior to the transition. Once baseline services were integrated, additional patient-focused services such as supportive care counseling, follow-up phone calls, medication reconciliation and chemotherapy education were offered.

Results: Pharmacists verified over 66,000 physician-ordered chemotherapy prescriptions in 2013, intervening on about 6% by suggesting adjustments for potential organ dysfunction or toxicity. For the past year pharmacists counseled nearly 90 patients a month regarding their supportive care medications. Survey results revealed a consistent increase in overall understanding, although the sample size did not allow for statistical significance. In addition, pharmacists made about 25 follow-up phone calls to patients to assess control of nausea and vomiting, completed medication histories for about 10 patients new to chemotherapy and were consulted for about 5 chemotherapy teachings per month.

Conclusions: Integration of pharmacy services in our oncology clinics has allowed for development of a streamlined and safe process for ordering and preparing chemotherapy. It also has increased patient access to pharmacists and education related to supportive care medications.

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