A pharmacist should be available to the cancer program, either as an employee, or as a consultant to train, certify, or advise the staff responsible for Pharmacy Services, i.e., those staff responsible for any aspect of drug therapy, from procurement to final disposition and documentation.
“Oncology Pharmacy provides evidence-based, patient-centered medication therapy management and direct patient care for individuals with cancer, including treatment assessment and monitoring for potential adverse drug reactions and interactions.”
A multidisciplinary approach that includes pharmacy services should be adopted in providing patient care. Pharmacy services include but are not limited to: obtaining medication history, medication reconciliation, drug interaction checking, and developing plans to monitor the efficacy of patient therapy.
The role of the pharmacist in oncology has evolved over the years into an integral part of the patient care team. Pharmacists are regarded as experts in the use of drugs. Depending on the setting, the role of a pharmacist may include dispensing and managing the inventory of chemotherapy drugs, monitoring patients on drug therapy for adverse effects and drug efficacy, providing education to patients on drug therapy and monitoring for signs of compliance, and ensuring compliance with federal, state, local laws, and other governing bodies.
Pharmacy Service standards and guidelines are governed by local, state, and federal laws. Most state laws require a pharmacist to oversee the operations of a pharmacy and ensure that pharmacy standards are met. However, pharmacists often may act as consultants or have collaborative agreements with cancer programs to help facilitate compliance with pharmacy standards.
At the Legacy Cancer Institute, the position of Oncology Pharmacy Navigator has become an integral part of our program. During a recent accreditation visit, American College of Surgeons Commission on Cancer surveyors specifically cited the Oncology Pharmacy Navigator as a “best practice.”
The Oncology Pharmacy Navigator is a specially trained pharmacist who maintains accurate medicine lists, provides patient-specific medication therapy management, ensures that patients understand their medicines, reduces the risk of drug errors and duplications, provides patient and family education, and solves drug-related problems. The financial burden of a cancer diagnosis is lessened because the Oncology Pharmacy Navigator focuses on cost-effective therapy while decreasing barriers to medication access and financial concerns. Read the full story.