Our Department of Pharmacy Services handles all prescription and supplement 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 accuracy and control in medication delivery. Working from one comprehensive medical record for each patient also helps to improve safety. The prescriptions are usually delivered to you within 10 to 45 minutes. You and your family members/caregivers can also drop off and pick up supplements right on the premises.
There are two pharmacies at our hospital:
Our retail pharmacy offers prescription medications and supplements, based on the recommendations of your oncologist, naturopathic clinician and/or pain management clinician.
The retail pharmacy staff, along with our naturopathic clinicians, 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.
A separate pharmacy near/in the hospital's Infusion Center mixes chemotherapeutic drugs and other intravenous medications. At the Hospital Pharmacy, chemotherapy treatment is prepared based on individualized dose requirements for each patient. Prior to mixing your chemotherapy, our pharmacists will review your lab results to make sure you can tolerate the prescribed dose and that it's the most appropriate drug for your particular health state.
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 double-check chemotherapy order verification process, which requires two pharmacists to evaluate patient-specific information, such as lab results, past treatment and organ dysfunction, in order to evaluate prescribed dosages.
Throughout your care, you will likely have questions about your medications and any anticancer drugs you are receiving, such as chemotherapy. The pharmacy team will interact regularly with your doctor, and with you and your family members to help answer your questions and educate you on the safe use of medications.
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.