SGO President: ‘Everything Is Better With Chemo Pharmacists’ Integrated on GYN Oncology Team

S. Diane Yamada, MD, president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), discusses the role of the pharmacist in gynecologic oncology patient care and treatment.

Pharmacy Times interviewed S. Diane Yamada, MD, 53rd president of the Society of Gynecologic Oncology (SGO), Joseph Bolivar DeLee professor of obstetrics and gynecology, the chief of the section of gynecologic oncology at the University of Chicago, and inaugural gynecologic oncology fellowship director, on the role of the pharmacist in gynecologic oncology patient care and treatment.

S. Diane Yamada: So, I can’t emphasize enough how important the role of the pharmacist is in our GYN oncology patient care and on our patient care teams.

So, I'm at the University of Chicago and we have functioned, both with the chemo pharmacists fully integrated into our GYN oncology team, and we have functioned without a chemo pharmacist fully integrated into our team. I can tell you that across the board on multiple different levels, everything is better with the chemo pharmacists incorporated into our team.

So, I view them as really being a very, very integral, important part of our team. There are innumerable challenges to our GYN oncology patients in terms of access to care in terms of more complex landscape with insurances and insurance precertification. It's an exciting time in terms of the numbers of new therapies that are out there. But with that comes the need for knowledge and understanding of dosing of those therapies, management of toxicities, educating patients, as well as practitioners and providers in the health care team, about those toxicities.

We have seen our chemo pharmacists be integral to the team and being able to educate not only us as providers, but our patients, and helping to smooth over drug interactions, anticipate problems with drug interactions that we may have, and actually help with things as mundane as insurance, precertification that can really be a barrier to our patients’ ability to get the best medications out there.