Walgreens teams help cancer patients
Walgreens is elevating the role of the pharmacist in the health care ecosystem with a new patent.
The retailer has received a U.S. patent for new proprietary technology that its Walgreens community specialty pharmacists and AllianceRx Walgreens Prime’s specialty pharmacists will use to facilitate communication with and counseling of patients prescribed oral oncology medicines.
Through Walgreens Connected Care Oncology, an evidence-based, patient-centered process focused on driving medication adherence and improving patient outcomes, this newly patented technology helps guide interactions with patients, helping them stay on their treatment and manage any possible side effects.
Historically, chemotherapy and other cancer medicines have been administered under the direct supervision of a medical professional in an outpatient clinic or in-patient hospital. However, more recently medical science has created oral cancer medicines called oncolytics that patients can take from the comfort of their home. While oncolytics offer convenience, they are still powerful medicines designed to treat cancer in accordance with complex treatment plans that are critical to patient outcomes.
“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,” said Rick Miller, senior director, 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.”
The patented technology arms Walgreens and AllianceRx Walgreens Prime specialty pharmacy teams with a set of questions and informational scripts to guide conversations with Connected Care Oncology patients. Branching logic within the technology adapts the set of questions and informational scripts in real time. Each patient interaction is customized to focus on patient specific variables - including prescribed medication, adverse events and adherence - and provides the proper support to the patient based on their current situation. Walgreens and AllianceRx Walgreens Prime captures the data and provides it to the patient’s oncologist for informational purposes and continuity of care.
“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,” said Matt Farber, senior director, 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.”