Dr Stacey McCullough Discusses Teamwork and Collaboration in Oncology

April 13, 2018

Stacey McCullough, PharmD, senior vice president of pharmacy at Tennessee Oncology, discusses the importance of the pharmacist there are more advances being made and therapeutic options becoming available in oncology.

Stacey McCullough, PharmD, senior vice president of pharmacy at Tennessee Oncology, discusses the importance of the pharmacist there are more advances being made and therapeutic options becoming available in oncology.

Transcript

How is the role of pharmacists changing with the shift from infused to oral therapies?

It’s a great opportunity for pharmacy to play a more active role in being a care provider rather than just being a service provider. In the IV distribution system, pharmacists may be doing ad-mixture, drug information, but not an active role a lot of times in the actual patient care. With the oral oncolytics and the patients doing their own therapy at home, it’s a great opportunity for pharmacy to be a part of the actual care team, have that patient interaction and be that conduit for the patient and following up on a routine basis, managing through their side effects, and communicating that information back into the provider.

Do the expectations that clinicians and patients have of the pharmacist’s role in patient care differ for IV therapy vs oral therapy?

I think for the oral therapy that does really give the pharmacy a larger opportunity to play a role in the overall care of the patient. The phone calls that will be made to the patient, both for symptom management proactively and we have care plans that are developed that are time specifically for when we anticipate the patient to have side effects occur with the medication. Or, the adherence calls that are made for refill. We want to have those interactions be informational to build a relationship with the patient and be that source of information back into the provider in those time intervals in which they are not actively being seen.

Why is teamwork and collaboration especially important in oncology?

The number of new medications that are being approved are at unprecedented times I think in oncology. The advances being made and therapeutic options, that gives a lot of opportunity for pharmacy to play a key role, not only in information about new medications being approved, but also when we look at the number of oral oncolytics being developed, pharmacy is gonna play a key role in getting those patients started on their medication. A lot of times, the patient access as well as the financial assistance is done through the pharmacy team for oral oncolytics. Also, then the pharmacists will be the educators as well as the adherence contact for the patient to continue on their therapy.