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On the second floor of CTCA at Southwestern Regional Medical Center (Southwestern), you'll find the Pharmacy, which serves inpatients and patients receiving chemotherapy treatment.*
Located next to the Infusion Center, the Pharmacy allows patients and nurses easy access to our pharmacists and infusion preparation facilities.
Director of Pharmacy Jeff Newhouse says the department is experienced in carrying cancer drugs, whereas traditional retail pharmacies may not have such drugs in stock or may have to order them specially.
Newhouse says the Pharmacy will immediately order a cancer drug as soon as the drug is approved by the FDA and his department is authorized to purchase it.
*On the first floor of the hospital, you'll find our Pharmacy/Nutrition Shoppe, where you can get your prescriptions filled and find a variety of supplements and health foods.
The Pharmacy Team
The pharmacists at Southwestern come from varied pharmaceutical backgrounds, including oncology, retail pharmacies, hospital and outpatient settings. This wide variety of experience in different pharmaceutical settings allows the team to combine its knowledge to best meet your needs.
Pharmacists and certified pharmacy technicians mix all of the chemotherapy medications and IVs. Pharmacy staff members also include: a clinical coordinator, clinical pharmacist and Doctors of Pharmacy (also known as PharmDs). Two of the pharmacists are certified in anticoagulation (i.e., medication used to prevent blood clotting).
The Pharmacy team is extremely focused on patient safety. Each medication is ordered and processed with several safety checks.
In Spring 2010, Southwestern became the first hospital in Oklahoma and the first CTCA hospital to implement the DoseEdgeTM Pharmacy Workflow Manager. DoseEdge revolutionizes the way pharmacy medications are filled by increasing patient safety, reducing mistakes, improving workflow, and minimizing waste.
With the DoseEdge system, the pharmacy technician follows steps outlined in the system to mix the drugs. The technician scans each vial and bag to verify that it matches with the order in the system before proceeding with the dose and directions. If the medications don’t match the system or if the technician tries to fill the order too early, DoseEdge will not allow the technician to continue.
After accurately completing the order, the technician places the filled medication on a platform, which takes a photo and sends it to the pharmacist to check for accuracy. Once the pharmacist approves the drug, it can safely be given to the patient.
DoseEdge provides increased patient safety by ensuring that the right drug mix and volume matches the order every time, and it reduces waste by ensuring that drugs can’t be mixed too early.
“With DoseEdge, the Southwestern Pharmacy is able to provide better quality labels while increasing our error avoidance. As we continue to modify and improve this great new offering, we’re confident that this system will help keep safety high for our patients,” says Newhouse.
At Southwestern's Pharmacy, each chemotherapy treatment is uniquely prepared based on individualized dose as well as the patient's height, weight, and other vital signs.
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 time frame to deliver the chemotherapy, how it should be infused, and the precise dose. They will also look at all the medications you're taking to proactively look for any adverse drug interactions. They will also suggest supportive medications that can help to prevent or reduce chemotherapy- and medication-related side effects.
The pharmacists at Southwestern play a critical role in educating patients about the medications they are taking and screening patients for drug interactions.
Before leaving the inpatient unit at the hospital, a pharmacist will meet with you to review all the medications you are currently taking. They'll review when to take your medications, if you should take them with food, and other relevant information. Since remembering all of this information can be difficult, we'll provide you with written information to take home and reference.
Our pharmacists also participate in Comfort Rounds, special sessions in which our oncologists and other clinicians (e.g., naturopathic medicine, pain management, nutrition and metabolic support) visit inpatients together to address their needs and concerns.
At Southwestern, we try to accommodate each patient's schedule as much as possible. You can schedule your chemotherapy treatments at your convenience.
The Pharmacy is open from 7 a.m. until 8 p.m. Additionally, a pharmacist is always on-call and can come in at any hour to mix a chemotherapy drug or IV.
Since the Infusion Center is open 24 hours a day, having a pharmacist on-call helps us to better serve patients who receive chemotherapy in the late evening/early morning hours.