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Celebrating American Pharmacists Month

This month, we celebrate American Pharmacists Month and recognize the critical role pharmacists play in oncology practices and patient care. From standing on the frontlines during the pandemic, to ensuring proper medication therapy management and bridging the gap between patient and provider communication, pharmacists in The US Oncology Network play a vital role in providing quality care to cancer patients.

Bringing value to practices

Pharmacists, along with physician researchers, help practices stay abreast of cutting-edge drug treatment options and regulations impacting the field of pharmacy. Cancer care can be costly, but by managing performance-based contracts and securing drug rebates, pharmacists are able to help offset costs to support the financial health of the practice.

In addition to providing patient medications, pharmacists and pharmacy technicians ensure a high level of safety with drug management. From compounding, preparing, and dispensing chemotherapy infusions, they ensure that patient care and safety is a top priority and compliant with all regulations and aligned with industry standards.

Improving patient care

From drug consultations to patient follow-ups, The Network pharmacists help support patients and providers to optimize cancer care. Pharmacists engage in multiple touch points with patients through prescription counseling, medication adjustments and side effect management. In-practice pharmacists are a part of the patient’s collaborative healthcare team and provide patient access to drug treatment information, financial support and educational resources.

Through collaboration with physicians, nurses, social workers and healthcare advocates, pharmacists in The Network are an additional resource available to patients to help them understand the scope of treatment options from costs, to drug availability, to side effects and provide additional resources. Pharmacists also follow-up with patients on oral medications to check for adherence, determine dosage adjustments and provide clinical updates to physicians when necessary.

During this unprecedented year due to the pandemic, pharmacists and pharmacy personnel have stepped up to make sure patients continue receiving life-savings medications and treatments. With the increase in telemedicine appointments and reduced in-office visits, pharmacists have had to quickly adjust to changing patient demands to ensure they receive their prescribed medications quickly and safely.

The future of pharmacy

As cancer treatment options become more personalized, the role of pharmacists continues to evolve to encompass all phases of patient care and support clinical decision making. With recent advances in precision medicine and clinical trials, there are many new opportunities to leverage the medication expertise of pharmacists. Pharmacy teams are an integral part of patient care and are equipped to be change leaders in the field of oncology.

Within The US Oncology Network there are over 90 pharmacists working tirelessly to support practices and patients. We thank you for your service and standing on the front lines to provide comprehensive cancer care in the community.

Derek Burns, PharmD, BCPS, BCSCP, DPLA is the Director of Pharmacy and Admixture Services for Rocky Mountain Cancer Centers (RMCC). He is responsible for overseeing all aspects of pharmacy operations and strategic growth development for RMCC.