By Amy Ehlers, BS, PharmD, BCPS.
Historically, the pharmacist's role in healthcare has been limited to filling and dispensing drugs based on a prescription, and ensuring that these medications were accurately delivered to patients. Today, this is no longer true. As the healthcare system has grown and evolved, so has the role and responsibility of the pharmacist. It is now expected that "pharmacists establish relationships with patients to ensure the appropriateness of medication therapy, patients' understanding of their therapy, and to monitor the effects of that therapy." 1
At NuFACTOR, the clinical pharmacist works to provide thorough patient care and not merely dispensing services. As the drug expert, the clinical pharmacist has the knowledge and skill set to oversee and coordinate the patient's optimal drug therapy regimen.
Prior to the patient's start of care, the NuFACTOR clinical pharmacist works closely with a NuFACTOR intake coordinator to ensure the most appropriate therapy, including IG brand, route of administration, and pre/post medications, are prescribed. In addition, a comprehensive phone consultation is conducted by a clinical pharmacist to educate the patient about their IG therapy, how it may impact their disease state, the goals of IG therapy, possible drug or infusion side effects and their management. This one-on-one consultation provides an opportunity for any questions or concerns the patient may have.
Clinical pharmacists have an opportunity to improve therapy outcomes after the patient begins service by managing any adverse drug or infusion related reactions that may occur. By decreasing or minimizing the adverse events, the patient's quality of life and compliance are more likely to be improved.
During an infusion, the clinical pharmacist relies on the infusion nurse to contact the pharmacy for consultation on any patient reactions. As the healthcare provider in the home, providing detailed information such as time and type of pre-meds administered, vital signs and their trends and any action taken by the nurse (such as stopping or slowing the infusion rate), allows the NuFACTOR clinical pharmacist to best manage the adverse event and communicate with the prescriber's office as needed. By having the clinical pharmacist as the single point of contact for the medical management of IG therapy, this allows for both consistent and streamlined communication between the prescriber, infusion nurse and patient. Though an overall team effort, the clinical pharmacist plays a crucial role in providing patients the highest quality of care they deserve; they are not merely medication dispensers, they are advocates and heroes in improving patient outcomes daily.
1 American Society of Health-System Pharmacists. ASHP statement on the pharmacist's role in primary care. Am J Health-Sys Pharm. 1999; 56:1965-7.