Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, MS, discussed the most surprising findings from a home infusion pilot program and explained how he thinks home infusion will continue to evolve.
Timothy O'Shea, PharmD, MS, of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, discussed surprising findings of Horizon’s collaborative pilot program with Rutgers Cancer Institute of New Jersey and RWJ Barnabas Health and predicted how home infusion programs will continue to evolve. Their program was created to promote home infusion of oncology therapeutics amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
At Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, O'Shea is the manager of clinical pharmacy; his responsibilities include leading strategy and outreach within pharmacy population health, case management, and gap closure. He went into more depth about the pilot program with colleague Saira Jan, PharmD, MS, during the AMCP Nexus session, "Implementation of a Novel Oncology Home Infusion Model" on October 18.
What were the most surprising or unexpected findings from the pilot program?
I think, on the positive side, one of the most encouraging things from the pilot was when we looked at the patient satisfaction score. Overall, there was a 98% patient satisfaction score with the program, which I think speaks to a lot of the work on the front end in ensuring that we are identifying the appropriate patients and to make sure that we had the necessary protocols and that we were all working side by side. On the plus side, that was absolutely a positive finding.
One of the things that we also found is that doing the screening, doing the identification, takes time; it takes resources, and some of that was certainly from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield; a lot of it was on the hospital's end. Very early on throughout the program, we created a backlog of patients, we couldn't screen them quick enough. That was something that I think we learned early on, and there were some additional resources, a couple of technicians that were brought on by the by the hospital’s end, to help support the program.
How do you think home infusion programs will continue to evolve and what key factors will be critical for their sustainability and success in the future?
I think site of care programs are certainly here to stay. There's many types of services that can be safely done in the home setting. For patients, it's a great satisfier, it's very convenient, certainly for oncology drugs in the right patient, but for nononcology drugs as well.
Being able to get infused in your own home can be a great experience vs having to travel every 4, 6, 8 weeks, however often you're getting infused, to the hospital or to the infusion center. Sometimes, maybe a long, long travel between tolls, parking, all of that, it can be stressful. For the right patient, home infusion programs represent just an overall better experience.