Before a patient commences their first cycle of a planned cancer therapy, as part of usual care, cancer pharmacists at a metropolitan hospital obtain a medication history. This is performed via a phone call to the patient with the pharmacist checking the appropriateness of the prescribed cancer therapy in the context of medications the patient is already taking, allergies, and potential drug interactions. The medication history also informs the preparation of a medication list for the patient as well as an update to the patient’s integrated electronic Medical Record (ieMR).
For some patients, the phone call from the cancer pharmacist may be at an inconvenient time. The call is unscheduled and unexpected, resulting in service inefficiencies from repeated phone calls to the patient/other health professionals often being necessary to elucidate the required information. In addition, patient anxiety and stress may be increased due to the patient feeling unprepared for the unscheduled phone call. A proposed solution to these challenges is for the patient to be given a scheduled face-to-face telehealth appointment with the cancer pharmacist.
There are some perceived benefits of a cancer pharmacist obtaining a medication history from a patient via a scheduled face-to-face telehealth appointment compared to an unscheduled phone call. These include the ability to visually confirm medication labels, dose administration aids, and vitamin and herbal supplements; opportunities to develop the pharmacist-patient relationship which is essential for establishing concordance with medicines; and service efficiencies from the patient being ready for the scheduled telehealth appointment.
Hear from a cancer pharmacist delivering care via telehealth, including reflections on some of the individual telehealth appointments.
Let’s start the face-to-face conversation.