Walgreens Teams Help Oncology Patients

Drug Topics JournalDrug Topics February 2018
Volume 162
Issue 2

The chain patented new tech to help better manage oncolytic usage.

Cancer and DNA strand

Gone are the days when cancer medicines were only administered in hospitals or outpatient clinics. Oncolytics have helped patients take their medications at home and removed the need for direct supervision. But like other medications, patients often have questions or struggle to keep up with their schedules.

Walgreens believes they have an answer. New technology allows Walgreens’ community specialty pharmacists, along with AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s specialty pharmacists to communicate with patients who have been prescribed oncolytics. The technology, Connected Care Oncology, helps pharmacists to guide patients through their treatment plan and help to manage side effects.

“As more and more cancer patients are self-administering oral oncolytic medications without medical supervision, there is no way for providers to know if the patient is taking the medication as prescribed or what side effects they may be experiencing,” says Rick Miller, senior director of specialty clinical services at AllianceRx Walgreens Prime and one of the patent developers. “This is where our interaction guiding system, coupled with pharmacy experts, becomes extremely valuable as it drives communication with our patients, and allows our pharmacists to gather important information about their treatment.”

Related article: Walgreens Program Creates Cancer-Specialized Locations

The technology presents pharmacists with a series of questions along with information scripts to guide conversations with patients. Each interaction focuses on individual patient variables like prescribed medication, adverse events, and adherence, and allows for proper support based on their current situation. The questions and scripts adapt in real time based on those answers. That information is then captured and provided to the patient’s oncologist. 

“Oral oncology is a growing area of cancer care, one that requires appropriate patient management and support to maximize the best potential outcomes and make our patients lives easier,” says Matt Farber, senior director of patient care and advocacy at Walgreens. “The complexity of managing patients on oral oncolytics led us to develop this technology, that when coupled with pharmacists’ clinical expertise, helps us to deliver the best care to our patients as they go through their cancer treatment. We are honored to be awarded this patent as it demonstrates our continued commitment to patient care and innovation.”

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