Implementation of an oral chemotherapy coordinator (OCC) role at a clinic appeared to improve patient care, according to study results detailed by Sheree Vaughan, RN, and Susan Bruce, MSN, RN, OCN®, AOCNS®, of Duke Raleigh Cancer Center in Raleigh, North Carolina, in a poster presentation on the 2020 Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Bridge virtual conference.
According to the study authors, patients treated with oral chemotherapy may experience suboptimal adherence to treatment and issues related to adverse effects that may go unreported. The study authors set out to evaluate the implementation of an OCC role at their clinic to improve care in areas such as treatment delays, patient education, and follow-up visits for patients who were receiving oral chemotherapy.
In this study, the OCC handled multiple responsibilities, such as verifying insurance and patient information, submitting prescriptions, and assisting with processes involved in enabling patients to receive prescriptions quickly. The OCC also provided patient education, including regarding follow-up care.
After a patient would receive a medication, the OCC would follow up by telephone in 3 to 5 days to evaluate treatment adherence and discuss side effects. The OCC also was available to help with symptom management, prescription refills, and other related needs.
In addition to providing care to existing patients, the study authors reported an increase of 250 new patients over the course of a year. Over 25 distinct oral therapies reportedly were prescribed across cancer types, and 9 prescribing medical oncologists were also involved in care.
Overall, study authors reported better timeliness of care initiation with this program, in addition to improvements in education, follow-up care, detection of symptom patterns, and patient and provider satisfaction. Standardized approaches were established in this program, and a second OCC position was created to handle patient flow.
Vaughan S, Bruce S. It’s just a pill: implementation of an oral chemotherapy coordinator. Presented at: ONS Bridge; September 8, 2020. Accessed September 20, 2020. https://ons.confex.com/ons/2020/cp/eposter.cgi?eposterid=924
This article originally appeared on Oncology Nurse Advisor