The Department of Pharmacy at King Hussein Cancer Center plays an integral role in accomplishing the Center's mission of providing comprehensive cancer care and becoming a leading regional center for cancer treatment, research and education.
Drug procurement includes purchases from the local market as well as the importation of medications from abroad that are not available in Jordan hence, providing KHCC patients with access to the most advanced cancer therapeutics. We take pride in the fact that we closely cooperate with the Jordan Food & Drug Administration (JFDA) to make sure that essential drugs are always available to our patients.
Drugs are distributed to hospitalized patients using the unit-dose distribution system. Intravenous medications are prepared by pharmacists in a sterile preparation facility that ensures the drugs are not contaminated, as might happen if they were prepared by nurses in the floor. In addition, chemotherapy medications are prepared inside a special device called a biological safety cabinet that decreases the risk of contamination from these chemotherapy agents. More recently, the pharmacy introduced a closed system for preparing such agents that has virtually cut the risk of contamination to 0%.
Over the past two years, we have managed to expand our clinical pharmacy coverage to more than 90% of patients hospitalized at KHCC. Our staff of experienced clinical pharmacists continuously works with the medical and nursing staff to ensure that our patients receive the most appropriate drug regimens. This will inevitably lead to better outcomes and less side effects that may result from inappropriate drug use.
Receiving state-of-the-art comprehensive cancer care does not end at seeing one of the brilliant physicians at KHCC. Beating cancer requires a strong collaboration between exceptional physicians, pharmacists, nurses, and other health care providers to deliver first-rate care. We are continuously involved in developing new services and reengineering existing ones to maximize the benefits to the patient.
Education and training
KHCC has established an in-school internship program for pharmacy students in the final two years of pharmacy school. During the school year, students work approximately 12 hours per week at KHCC gaining experience in different facilities of the pharmacy department. During holidays, the students are mentored by experienced clinical pharmacists. They also participate in various research projects conducted by the department.
The KHCC pharmacy services are unique in that they all center on providing patients with the safest and most effective medications.
- At KHCC parenteral medications are prepared in the pharmacy under strict sterile conditions. This practice decreases infection rates resulting from extemporaneous IV preparation by nurses in open environments, improves medication safety by reviewing a medication’s order for appropriateness, allows nursing staff to focus more on the patient, and (iv) significantly decreases costs.
Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN)
- Patients who receive Total Parenteral Nutrition (TPN) are visited daily by pharmacists who asses their needs and responses to the various therapies. Up to 20 nutrients (aminoacids, fats, vitamins, minerals, etc) are carefully mixed in the pharmacy in one container to provide the necessary daily nutrition for patients with sensitive digestive tracts.
- The outpatient pharmacy is designed to allow for space to inform patients about every medication that they receive in a private and confidential matter.
Electronic record of medications
- All medications dispensed are electronically entered into the patient’s record. Every patient carries a “card” with all prescriptions dispensed from the pharmacy so that the attending staff is well informed about what medications patients are receiving. This decreases prescribing errors.
- A system of multiple checking is in place to confirm proper dispensing of medications. This ensures that the right patient is receiving the right drug in the right doses.
- We do not make assumptions. We continuously contact ordering physicians to clarify orders.
- Chemotherapy is strictly handled by specially-trained pharmaceutical and nursing staff. This is to guarantee that these critical medications are prepared and administered in adherence with international standards.
- Pediatric medications
- Children are only given medications after adjustments in body weight have been established. We do not accept orders with no weight and dose per weight. This prevents giving little children full adult doses.
- The Center for Drug Policy prepares detailed evaluations about the safety, efficacy and cost-effectiveness of every medication that is added to the KHCC formulary. This process ensures that only the best medications are used at KHCC. In addition, the cost-effectiveness analysis and other pharma-economic studies ensure that health insurance providers are getting the most for their money.
- Online web-based formulary allows all KHCC staff to instantly access cortically appraised information about any of the drugs. Using an online platform, instead of a printed formulary, allows us to constantly update the list of drugs we have. In addition, the online formulary displays warning messages that have been added to the drugs, thereby alerting the staff to any new safety or efficacy guidelines regarding the medications.
Investigational Drug Service
- The Investigational Drug Service has been created to support KHCC researchers in obtaining investigational (research) medications to be used for patients who have failed standard therapies and have no other alternatives. The investigational drugs service works with the physicians, research office, and pharmaceutical companies to ensure the availability and accountability of such medications.
The Department of Pharmacy at KHCC is staffed with specialized pharmacists and technicians in the following services:
- Inpatient Pharmacy
- Outpatient Pharmacy
- Chemotherapy Pharmacy
- IV Admixture Pharmacy
- Ambulatory Infusion Services
- Total Parenteral Nutrition
- Pharmaco-vigilence and Monitoring
- Clinical Pharmacy Consultations
Currently, there are 28 pharmacists working in these services.
At KHCC, the role of the Department of Pharmacy has been extended to reach patients in hospital floors and clinics. Since 2005, clinical pharmacists started to rotate in the floors with the treating teams. They later became essential members of the team. Clinical pharmacists provide thorough evaluations of patient’s drug histories, drug-drug interaction and allergies. They are a primary source of scientifically valid information and advice regarding the safe, appropriate, and cost-effective use of medications.