September 26, 2016
September 26, 2016
For immediate release: Feb. 17, 2015
NORTHAMPTON – Today, Cooley Dickinson Hospital went live with the operation of its expanded pharmacy, which is the first visible and tangible part of the Massachusetts General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
An expanded pharmacy with new oncology pharmacy staff allows Cooley Dickinson to offer people living with cancer the same treatment regimens, protocols, and safety for chemotherapy and radiation that Mass General Cancer Center physicians use.“Renovations to the pharmacy are an essential underpinning to the future of cancer care at Cooley Dickinson,” Mark Novotny, MD, chief medical officer, said.
“This is about getting Mass General Cancer Center quality at Cooley Dickinson Hospital,” said Sean Mullally, MD, medical oncologist, and medical director of the Cooley Dickinson cancer center.
In addition, the oversight of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center means people newly diagnosed or living with cancer no longer need to decide if they should go to Boston for care.
“They can come here and their team will help them decide what care they should receive and where,” added Novotny.
About the Expanded Pharmacy
The renovated pharmacy includes a new sterile preparation space with separate rooms for chemotherapy and intravenous compounding. Chemotherapy is drug treatment given in pill, injection, and intravenous forms to kill cancer cells.
The sterile prep area has positive air pressure and hoods that filter air to prevent possible contamination while preparing the drugs. The chemotherapy prep area has negative air pressure to reduce the risk of chemotherapy exposure and specialized chemotherapy hoods that filter air to prevent contamination and preserve negative pressure to protect staff.
Improved storage, more automation, and fail-safe technologies reduce the risks of introducing errors when dispensing all medications from the pharmacy.
Oncology Pharmacy Staff Hired
In addition to expanded physical space, two oncology pharmacists and two oncology pharmacy technicians have been hired and are dedicated to supporting the cancer center. The oncology pharmacists have in depth knowledge about medications and how they work to treat cancer.
In addition, they work with each patient’s health care team to educate patients about what to expect during treatment and to ensure that each medication is given at the right time and dosed correctly, among other responsibilities.
Nearly half of all men and one-third of all women in the
Chemotherapy regimens will be reviewed and approved by onsite oncology clinical pharmacists and prepared by chemotherapy pharmacy technicians dedicated to the cancer center.
Increased Focus on Quality and Safety
The renovations to the pharmacy were needed to provide the right chemotherapy hoods, space, sterile prep areas, and ventilation for mixing chemotherapy according to best practices. In addition, the renovations and expanded space increase the standard of care for all Cooley Dickinson patients with an increased focus on quality and safety.
About the Cooley Dickinson/Mass General Cancer Center Partnership
Cooley Dickinson and the Mass General Cancer Center have collaborated in providing cancer care since 2009. Since Cooley Dickinson Hospital became an affiliate of Massachusetts General Hospital and Partners HealthCare System in 2013, the new working relationship – one of an affiliate health care system – is a visible example of the future of cancer care.
Cancer is complex and it takes a coordinated relationship between community hospitals and academic medical centers to create a new cancer are paradigm where the right approach to care and treatment is delivered to the right patient at the right time and in the right place.
About the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson Hospital
Construction of the new center is currently underway. The new pharmacy is across the hall from the future home for Cooley Dickinson’s unified cancer services. In the fall of 2015, the Mass General Cancer Center at Cooley Dickinson will relocate to a new facility in the North Building of Cooley Dickinson’s Locust Street campus.