For Immediate Release
Newswise — Chicago, IL: (October 2013) As oncology treatments become more personalized and complex, the role of the hematology/oncology pharmacist has expanded and become more comprehensive. Recognizing that there is a significant disconnect in how hematology/oncology pharmacists are perceived by the public and, even other healthcare providers, and the crucial contributions they make to the cancer care team, the Hematology/Oncology Pharmacist Association (HOPA) developed a comprehensive document detailing their important role. “As an organization, we are excited to announce the release of this Scope of Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Practice document. In addition to emphasizing and clarifying the role of hematology/oncology pharmacists, it can be used as a tool to educate health care leaders, the public, and policy makers on the impact these specially trained pharmacists can have in the care of cancer patients, ” says Niesha Griffith RPh MS FASHP, HOPA president.
The Scope of Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Practice is the first document to clearly define the knowledge, skills and functions of the hematology/oncology pharmacist, primarily related to direct patient care, and to promote a better understanding of this ever-growing profession. As a specialty area within pharmacy practice, the oncology pharmacist plays a vital role in treatment selection, management, research, education and even performance improvement.
Because oncology medications are often extremely toxic, require complicated preparation and administration, and are frequently expensive, having a specially trained hematology/oncology pharmacist as a member of the patient care team ensures an enhanced level of care. “Oncology pharmacists are able to improve medication safety, provide supportive care and support in making treatment decisions and ultimately impact a patient’s quality of life. We hope that publishing this scope document will foster a more unified approach to data-driven, evidence-based support for the inclusion of oncology pharmacists into all cancer care settings,” states Dr. Laura Michaud PharmD BCOP, co-editor.
The Scope of Hematology Oncology Pharmacy Practice was developed to demonstrate that hematology/oncology pharmacists facilitate and improve patient care through evidence-based treatment selection, medication monitoring and modification, and symptom management. Hematology/oncology pharmacists are also on the front lines addressing insurance coverage issues, providing patient education and advocating for improved cancer care in the health policy arena. “Oncology pharmacists are involved in these aspects with individual patients, but are also involved in developing policies and guidelines that can improve patient safety as it relates to medications and their use in a variety of different health care settings. If more pharmacists were involved in these processes, patient care may be improved further,” says immediate past president of HOPA and co-editor, Lisa Holle PharmD BCOP.
A copy of the Scope of Hematology/Oncology Pharmacy Practice can be found here.
HOPAHOPA is a nonprofit professional organization formed in 2004 to help oncology and hematology pharmacy practitioners and their associates provide the best possible cancer care. HOPA supports research, conducts educational conferences to advance knowledge, encourages professional development and advocates for health policy issues that improve patient care. HOPA has nearly 2000 members and includes oncology pharmacists, as well as pharmacy interns, residents, nurses, technicians, researchers, and administrators specializing in hematology/oncology practice. To learn more about HOPA, visit www.hoparx.org
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