By Steve Blanchard - December 07, 2020
Moffitt Cancer Center patients can now get some services curbside at the Richard M. Schulze Family Foundation Outpatient Center without ever having to step out of their vehicle. The cancer center is the only health care organization in Florida offering this unique way to receive treatment during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a service that patient Michele Wicks has used twice and recommends to anyone who prefers to stay out of crowded or indoor spaces or who just wants to save time.
“My nurse recommended it to me and I’m so glad she did,” said Wicks, who was diagnosed with colon cancer nearly four years ago. “They take your vitals right there in the car and it’s so much easier than going inside, checking in, getting your temperature checked and then walking to the clinic. The whole experience was about 10 to 15 minutes.”
The idea was inspired by a similar program set up at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore earlier this year, said Heather Morgan, Director of Infusion Services & Blood Draw Services at Moffitt’s McKinley campus. Moffitt, she said, wants to offer an innovative alternative making it easier for patients to receive their ongoing treatment while encouraging social distancing, providing convenience and maintaining best practices. The new service could potentially benefit thousands of patients who are eligible.
“A lot of our patients are anxious about being inside brick-and-mortar structures or exposing themselves to others who may be asymptomatic,” Morgan said.
“The goal was to provide an alternate location where ordered treatments could be administered. Curbside clinic provides patients with that additional location option that will help to alleviate their anxieties by eliminating the need to come inside.”
The medications available curbside do not include any form of chemotherapy but are injectables that support patients throughout chemotherapy treatments.
“There are a select number of treatments offered consisting of vaccines and other therapeutic medications prescribed to treat a variety of conditions inclusive of cancer and other hematologic diagnoses,” Morgan said.
Treatments Offered at Curbside Clinic
- Aranesp (Darbepoietin Alfa)
- Eligard (Leuprolide Acetate)
- Fragmin (Dalteparin)
- Lovenox (Enoxaparin)
- Neulasta/ Neulasta Onpro OBI (Pegfilgrastim)
- Neupogen (Filgrastim)
- Pegasys (Peginterferon Alfa-2A)
- Procrit (Epoetin Alfa)
- Prolia (Denosumab) – q 6 months
- Xgeva (Denosumab) – q 4 weeks
- Vitamin B-12 (Cyanocabalamin)
- Continuous Infusion (CI) CADD Pump Disconnect with/without subsequent placement of a Neulasta OBI)
Additional offerings phase II
Vaccines for Splenectomy/Asplenia:
- Prevnar 13. (Pneumococcal 13-valent conjugate vaccine)
- Haemophilus b conjugate (PRP-T vaccine)
- Bexsero (Meningococcal group B vaccine)
- Menveo (Meningococcal conjugate vaccine)
- Pneumovax 23 (Pneumococcal 23- polyvalent vaccine)
Peripheral lab draws for patients on active treatment:
- Pre-chemo/Treatment peripheral labs
- Injections in combination with peripheral labs
- Port Flushes (pending – Phase III)
*ONLY when the administration of those injections is not dependent on results of the labs being drawn at that same Curbside Clinic visit.
*Peripheral lab draws only (there has not been a method established that would allow the clinician to maintain an aseptic field on which to lay dressings/flushes, etc.)
Curbside clinic appointments are available to patients whose ordered treatments meet the eligibility criteria and schedulers have been trained to let patients know if they can utilize the new service.
“I’m on disability, so my dad drives me to my appointments,” Wicks said. “He was thrilled with the experience and it allowed him to stay with me during the whole visit. It’s a great thing that Moffitt is doing.”
The new clinic launched through a pilot in mid-October and has seen steady growth in the number of patients using the service. Nearly 100 patients have utilized the Curbside Clinic and now the Moffitt team is ready to expand and offer additional services for those eligible in the near future at the McKinley outpatient center.
“I just thought this idea was absolutely innovative,” said Jane Fusilero, Moffitt’s chief nursing officer. “What a great way to take care of our patients during the pandemic and to give them access to something that literally only takes about 10 minutes.”
Fusilero said that even when the COVID-19 pandemic becomes just a memory, Moffitt’s curbside clinic will likely remain because of its convenience and success.
"The convenience factor is unbelievable, so we want this to continue."- Jane Fusilero
"The convenience factor is unbelievable, so we want this to continue,” Fusilero said. “Johns Hopkins gets a lot of credit for coming up with such a great idea but our team here at Moffitt really worked well together across the board to bring this to our patients.”
To make the curbside clinic flow seamlessly, Morgan and her team had to work closely with the pharmacy and information technology departments.
“We had to get a refrigerator to store the medicines in just inside the doors so that they can be maintained at the right temperature,” Fusilero said. “The pharmacy prepares the injection the morning of the appointment and has it available for our nursing team to grab when the patient arrives. Then the patient gets their treatment and can be on their way.”
Ensuring that wireless technology could record each injection was also instrumental in making the curbside clinic a reality.
“The staff that is in the curbside clinic absolutely love it,” Fusilero said. “Our team members deserve a lot of praise. What an innovative project to set up within just a few weeks. Everyone was onboard early on to make this a priority because they care about the patients and they want to keep them as safe as possible.”