I had the privilege of attending the 2023 Canadian Association of Pharmacy in Oncology (CAPhO) annual conference in Toronto as the recipient of the CAPhO Conference Technician / Assistant Travel Grant. I am truly grateful to CAPhO for providing this opportunity to its technician and assistant members, and for recognizing the passion and dedication of those who work in oncology pharmacy.
The theme of the conference was “Innovation and Collaboration: Looking Forward”.
Innovation in healthcare means developing new and improved ways to take care of people’s health, such as creating new medicines or treatments, and using technology to improve healthcare. The conference covered topics such as artificial intelligence, precision medicine and new drug therapies, which are all innovative ways that oncology pharmacy practice is transforming medicine and improving patient outcomes. Pharmacy technicians can play an essential role in advancing innovation by evaluating and implementing new technologies, participating in clinical research, and aiding in the development of new initiatives.
Collaboration involves healthcare professionals working together to optimize the treatment plan and health outcome for a patient. While several conference sessions highlighted the importance of integrating pharmacists into the multi-disciplinary team, the role of pharmacy technicians as part of that team was also emphasized. Their ability to obtain BPMH (Best Possible Medication History), advocate for patients through drug access navigation, and participate in the implementation of safe-handling practices are examples of the important contributions pharmacy technicians make every day. They also contribute to collaboration by supporting medication management, facilitating communication between healthcare providers and patients, and engaging in quality improvement initiatives and professional development.
Attending the conference was a valuable experience. I had the chance to learn from leaders in oncology pharmacy, meet industry experts and vendors, network with other CAPhO members, and connect with peers. I also enjoyed the opportunity to explore the area and see some of its most iconic sites, including Niagara Falls and the CN Tower, and attend a Blue Jays game. These experiences were a great reminder of the importance of balancing work and personal life.
I would like to extend my congratulations to the other grant recipients. As well, a heartfelt thank you to the CAPhO board for this opportunity and the conference planning committee for organizing such a fantastic conference. I am excited to take what I have learned back to my workplace and to continue to advance the role of the pharmacy technician in oncology practice.