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When your CTCA physician orders a prescription for you, the order goes into an automated computer system and is electronically transmitted to the Pharmacy, where a pharmacist verifies it. After the drug is prepared, another pharmacist will check the order again. Then, the Pharmacy delivers the drug to the appropriate area.
Chemotherapy agents go to the Infusion Center. Once there, infusion nurses check the drug for a third and fourth time before administering it. This means there are at least four sets of eyes checking each medication before you receive it.
With a pass-through window connecting the Pharmacy to the Infusion Center, pharmacists have easy access to infusion nurses, and vice versa. This allows for efficient, streamlined care.
For other medications, the Pharmacy uses Pyxis technology. This is an automated medication-dispensing machine (as opposed to the traditional cart-fill method). According to Rafter, about 95 percent of the Pharmacy oral medication supply is distributed out through the Pyxis machines.
Using the Pyxis machine, a nurse will log in and pull up your full, active profile. On a touch screen, the nurse will select the order and a door will open with that particular drug in it. Once the drug is delivered, your profile is immediately updated with only a two-minute lag time.
This technology helps to ensure accuracy and control in medication delivery and improves safety. It also allows your pharmacist more time to spend with you.
A paperless system
With the new Electronic Health Records (EHR) system in place at the hospital, pharmacy processes are completely paperless. The EHR system is an electronic data management system that allows your entire care team to work collaboratively from one automated and comprehensive record. According to Rafter, this new system helps to eliminate the potential for error in hand-written data entry.
With real-time access to shared information, the Pharmacy can communicate more effectively with your care team to deliver treatment orders more efficiently. Thereby, you can receive more integrated, streamlined care. Additionally, Rafter says: “With the advent of the new EHR system, it makes us more accessible to patients.”
Safety and quality checks
The Pharmacy performs several safety checks for every medication you receive. For instance, pharmacists double check every single chemotherapy order that comes through. They look for dosing side effects and take into account your blood levels and past history. All cancer drugs are bar coded and matched to the individual patient.
In addition, all of the chemotherapy hoods in the Pharmacy are closed, a safety precaution for employees. The hood doors will not open unless it has decompressed for an entire minute, ensuring that everything in the hood has been filtered.