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Multidisciplinary Collaborative Approach Proves Beneficial for Oral Anticancer Med Adherence

February 13, 2020

Researchers recently found that a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to oral anticancer medication (OAM) adherence can have a significant impact on outcomes. 

“OAMs offer convenient administration, reducing the burden of cancer treatment, but create challenges for patients and practitioners,” study authors noted.  

In order to improve OAM adherence, a team of researchers conducted a quality improvement initiative. They used data from the Quality Oncology Practice Initiative analysis and identified a baseline adherence rate of 30%.  

The aim of the study, according to the researchers, was to increase OAM patient adherence by 30 percentage points.  

“Through cause-and-effect analysis, adherence barriers were identified, leading to the development of 2 strategies: low-cost adherence tools and a pharmacist-led adherence program,” they explained.  

For the study, the research team collected prescription refill data before and after the intervention, and they used prescription-fill data and specialty pharmacy records. Further, they defined adherence as “the patient having the drug available at least 80% to less than 120% of the days evaluated for 4 treatment cycles.” Finally, the research team observed the number of interventions, OAM-related toxicity, emergency room visits, and hospitalizations.

According to the study findings, after 1 year of observation, OAM adherence increased from 37% to 85% (n = 20 of 54 v 44 of 52 patients; P < .0001). Researchers noted that during the study, 655 interventions were documented by a pharmacist (adherence related, n = 331; treatment related, n = 324). Finally, the number of oncology-related emergency room referrals leading to hospitalization increased from 52% (n = 13 of 25) to 62% (n = 23 of 37) during the study period. 

“A pharmacist-led adherence program, combined with low-cost adherence tools, exceeded the goal for the adherence initiative, suggesting that a multidisciplinary collaborative approach to OAM adherence can have a significant impact on outcomes,” the study authors concluded.  

Julie Gould


Curry MA, Chineke I, Redelico T, et al. Adherence to Oral Anticancer Medications After Implementation of an Ambulatory Adherence Program at a Large Urban Academic Hospital [published online ahead of print, 2020 Jan 21]. JCO Oncol Pract. 2020;JOP1900167. doi:10.1200/JOP.19.00167

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