Stay Up to Date
Breaking News,
Updates, & More
Click Here to
Subscribe

Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center

TOP - October 2011 Vol 4, No 7 published on October 20, 2011 in Cancer Center Profile
Dawn Lagrosa

Offering medical, surgical, and radiation oncology, the Hallmark Health Hematology and Oncology Center provides local access to personalized, comprehensive, high-quality cancer care. Located in Stoneham, Massachusetts, about 7 miles north of Boston, the center is part of Hallmark Health System, which also includes 2 community hospitals, Lawrence Memorial Hospital of Medford and Melrose-Wakefield Hospital.

The center also houses an onsite oncology pharmacy. Being positioned on the same floor as the treatment area places the pharmacists right where they need to be. “As in any oncology practice, we are fully available for any kind of consults,” Michelle Corrado, PharmD, System Director of Pharmacy Services, told The Oncology Pharmacist. “We are regularly requested by patients…if they have any questions about their regimen or side effects, the pharmacist will typically go out to the infusion room and sit and talk with patients and their families, answering any questions they might have.”

This ease of communication extends beyond patient consults. Proximity to team members increases the frequency of face-to-face conversations and enhances personalization of cancer care, according to Corrado. “Many interdependencies are needed among physicians, nurses, and pharmacists to get the right treatment for the right patient; and you really need to know that patient. You need to know that he or she was hospitalized last week. You need to know how his or her labs are trending. You need to know that he or she vomited for 3 days the last time.” This degree of information is not always available when pharmacists work remotely. “Sometimes it is just a casual conversation. I really have seen that the level of information you get about the patient increases exponentially by being integrated into the practice,” she said. And this dedication has its rewards. Patients regularly compliment the center, specifically the pharmacy.

Behind the Scenes

What many patients don’t know is that their high-quality care stems from a lot of hard work. As in many oncology pharmacies, pharmacists at Hallmark Health head up the Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies (REMS), including oncology and nononcology REMS programs. For the center, that represents between 6 and 12 programs for such agents as epoetin alfa, darbepoetin alfa, natalizumab, and denosumab, each requiring the verification of lab values and documentation.

Pharmacists also are the point people for the center’s computer-based orderentry system (IntelliDose, IntrinsiQ), building any new protocols instituted by the center, including supporting literature, into the system. Add in their use of the existing pharmacy information system (MT Software, MediTech) and the just-implemented electronic health record system (Centricity, GE Healthcare), and the center’s pharmacists are coordinating a good amount of hightech. Plus, they currently are implementing a bar-coding system as an additional source of quality assurance.

Pharmacy also handles pharmaceutical purchasing and contracting. As the system director, Corrado is responsible for contracting, and Hallmark Health has a buyer. However, “the oncology pharmacy coordinator is responsible for all the inventory [at the center].” The center keeps a very tight inventory margin, which requires close communication with the team. “What patients are coming in. What treatments we need to handle,” she explained.

In addition, there is the business plan for the upcoming year. Corrado and the center’s oncology pharmacy coordinator will work with the director and the health system’s finance and compliance officers to “make sure that we are offering the right therapies for our community, and that goes into the expansion of the nononcology infusions,” as the center currently acts as an infusion center for multiple sclerosis treatments, osteoporosis, as well as various neurologic conditions, she said.

Related Items
Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center
TOP - February 2017, Vol 10, No 1 published on February 1, 2017 in Cancer Center Profile
Stanford Cancer Clinical Trials Office
Online First published on November 4, 2015 in Cancer Center Profile, Online First
Virginia K. Crosson Cancer Center, St. Joseph’s Healthcare System
TOP - May 2015, Vol 8, No 2 published on May 1, 2015 in Cancer Center Profile
St. Joseph’s/Candler Health System
TOP - February 2015, Vol 8, No 1 published on February 12, 2015 in Cancer Center Profile
Cancer Hospital of New Jersey at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital
TOP - October 2014, Vol 7, No 4 published on October 29, 2014 in Cancer Center Profile
Sequoia Regional Cancer Center, Kaweah Delta Health Care District
TOP - August 2014, Vol 7, No 3 published on September 8, 2014 in Cancer Center Profile
Jefferson School of Pharmacy at Thomas Jefferson University
TOP - May 2014, Vol 7, No 2 published on June 10, 2014 in Cancer Center Profile
Kimmel Cancer Center: Safety Procedures for Pharmacists and Patients
TOP - February 2014, Vol 7, No 1 published on March 1, 2014 in Cancer Center Profile
Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center
Alice Goodman
TOP - October 2013 VOL 6, NO 4 published on October 31, 2013 in Cancer Center Profile
Barnes-Jewish Hospital
Alice Goodman
TOP - August 2013 VOL 6, NO 3 published on September 5, 2013 in Cancer Center Profile
Last modified: September 9, 2019