The Department of Pharmacy Services, which includes the hospital and retail pharmacies, takes care of all medication needs on-site at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA).
With the electronic health records (EHR) system, our pharmacy processes are completely paperless. This helps to ensure timeliness and accuracy in medication delivery. Working from one comprehensive medical record for each patient also helps to improve safety. Medications orders are reviewed, prepared and delivered in a safe, accurate and timely manner. You, your family members and caregivers can also drop off prescriptions for medications or supplements to be processed at our on-site retail pharmacy.
Our retail pharmacy offers prescription medications and supplements, based on the recommendations of your oncologist, naturopathic clinician and/or pain management clinician. Service is prompt and courteous, and our retail pharmacy team works diligently to ensure that financial benefits are maximized through co-pay assistance programs and/or foundational assistance programs for patients who are eligible. In addition to prescription services, our retail pharmacy offers a variety of gifts, over-the-counter medications and convenience items.
The retail pharmacists have developed guidelines for reviewing and dispensing all prescription and supplement products. We look for drug-drug interactions and drug-herb interactions and make sure that every supplement prescribed is safe and won’t interfere with a patient’s treatment regimen. Naturopathic clinicians help develop guidelines for safe management of herbal and natural products. Patients and guests may stop by the retail pharmacy if they have medication-related questions.
The hospital pharmacy, which is located adjacent to the Infusion Center, prepares chemotherapeutic drugs and other intravenous medications. The word “chemotherapy” is a broad term that includes a variety of medicines that specifically target cancer, and may also include medicines to minimize side effects such as nausea. Chemotherapy treatment is prepared based on individualized dose requirements for each patient. Prior to preparing your chemotherapy, our pharmacists will review your lab results to make sure you can tolerate the prescribed medication and dose and that it's an appropriate drug or combination for the cancer we are targeting.
Using this information, our pharmacists will work with your oncologists to determine the best chemotherapy schedule and delivery method. They also check for any drug interactions and recommend additional medications to help to prevent or reduce chemotherapy- and medication-related side effects.
The team at the Hospital Pharmacy is devoted to patient safety. Each medication goes through stringent safety tests before it reaches the patient. Safety regulations consist of an extensive verification process, which requires two pharmacists to evaluate patient-specific information, such as lab results, past treatment and other clinical issues such as kidney or liver impairment that may require dose modification to ensure you receive the dose that is appropriate for you.
Throughout your care, you will likely have questions about your medications and any anti-cancer drugs you are receiving. The pharmacy team will interact regularly with your physicians and other practitioners to ensure you receive safe and effective treatment. Pharmacists will be available to help answer your questions and educate you on the safe use of medications. We value communication with our patients and other health care practitioners, because this ensures that your overall care is provided in a coordinated and effective way, and ultimately promotes better outcomes for you, our patient.
The pharmacy team at Eastern
The pharmacy team at CTCA at Eastern Regional Medical Center is comprised of registered pharmacists, pharmacy technicians, an inventory purchaser, and an individual dedicated to supplements and nutritional support. Registered pharmacists Joseph Coyne serves as VP of Pharmacy Services, and Tim Rafter as Director of Pharmacy Services.
The Pharmacy will provide all your medications during your visit to the hospital. “We compound everything here. All the drugs come from us,” says Rafter. The Pharmacy has nearly 3000 different medications in stock. The medications range from topicals, to orals, to parenteral nutrition, to chemotherapy drugs, to nutraceuticals and supplements.
According to Coyne, if you need a medication, CTCA will get it. At other hospitals, your choice of drugs may be limited to only the formulary drugs which the hospital is permitted to purchase.
Throughout your care, you will likely have questions about your medications and any anticancer drugs you are receiving, such as chemotherapy. The pharmacy team interacts regularly with your doctor, and with you and your caregivers, to help answer your questions and educate you on the safe use of medications.
The pharmacy team is very visible around the hospital. If you are an inpatient, a pharmacist will be on the floor throughout the day monitoring your chart. This allows for more timely recommendations to your doctors and nurses and provides you with a high quality of care.
The pharmacy team is in constant communication with the members of your care team. For instance, pharmacists attend "endorsement" meetings three times a week. During these meetings the pharmacy team addresses questions from your care team about the administration of drugs, drug interactions and patient allergies. Your clinicians and pharmacists will also share information about new cancer drugs on the market.
The pharmacy team also participates in "Comfort Rounds" for inpatients. Twice a week, pharmacists join with your other clinicians to visit with you.“Because of the integrated approach at CTCA, we are able to be much more readily available than I think most other hospital pharmacies. We are very accessible and visible to patients,” says Coyne.
The Retail Pharmacy is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Monday through Friday, and is closed on the weekends.
The Inpatient Pharmacy is open 24/7, every day of the year.