Expert: Digital Solutions Allow Oncology Pharmacists to Be Further Integrated Into the Care Team

By using technology solutions, pharmacists can be further integrated into the care team.

In an interview with Pharmacy Times, Amila Patel, PharmD, chief clinical officer at Navigating Cancer, discussed obstacles to the mass implementation of digital solutions in oncology care. Patel said that by using technology solutions, pharmacists can be further integrated into the care team.

Q: Do you see these digital solutions being used more widely in the future, and what could wider use mean for the future of oncology?

Amila Patel, PharmD: Yeah, I certainly do see that them being, you know, widely Incorporated. You know, I think the future of oncology really shifts back to that at-home care model that I described. I also think that there's a great potential for patients to have access to a wide range of services through these platforms, whether that's mental health services, transportation issues that might be happening for them, and also external factors that are still there, as cancer patients are receiving their diagnosis and going through their care that are equally important to managing their symptoms and their clinical issues.

Q: What is the role of the pharmacist in utilizing this technology?

Amila Patel, PharmD: Yeah, so, I think pharmacists are an invaluable member of the health care team and through these technology solutions, they're able to be more a part of the interdisciplinary care of the patient—manage their symptoms and their oral adherence as they're on specialty pharmacy medications, engage with the patients if they're having access issues, provide them educational materials and content throughout their care journey. I think that, again, over the last few years, we've talked a lot about the burdens that are placed on the clinical team, and pharmacists have been quite left out of that conversation. And so, I think this is an important time to also address transformation of how pharmacists operate within that interdisciplinary care team. And these tools can really aid in that process.

Q: Is there anything you would like to add?

Amila Patel, PharmD: Yeah, so I think I hit on a number of things that we highlighted in our study that we conducted. But one of the other interesting findings that we revealed was that although it was mainly white, English-speaking patients that had the highest engagement in our platform, patients in other groups were also highly engaged, so there's still value for these patients to use this technology. And so, as we move forward, we really want to ensure that we're building and developing solutions that encompass the needs of all patients and not leave any patient groups behind.