Vincent Ha - CAPhO16 Summary Report

What I learned from the CAPhO Conference

The CAPhO Conference this year was set to a beautiful backdrop of Niagara Falls and was a fitting venue to discuss the topic of “Can we talk?” However, after many plenary sessions, panel discussions, and 3 wonderful days of meeting with colleagues from across the country, a more fitting title would be “Can we discuss?”
Setting the theme of the conference, Dr. Kim Lavoie discussed the importance of motivational interviewing. Often times, healthcare professionals enter a patient interaction with their own agenda of providing as much information as possible leading to an overwhelmed patient. Statistics have shown that about 65% of our patients do not take medications as prescribed. We often confuse adherence and compliance as synonymous terms, while in reality they are completely different. Adherence requires working with the patient and coming to a mutual agreed upon conclusion, while compliance does not. Ultimately, three things are required for change within a patient: being aware of the problem, realizing the benefits, and having the confidence to change. We must focus on working with the patient rather than forcing the patient. 
Many of the panel sessions were in relation to how we can better communicate with our patients. Several ideas and innovative practices were shared such as discussing an oral chemotherapy practice and sharing practical ways of implementing a pharmacist led toxicity management program. One common theme was the importance of a call back program for the management of chemotherapy in an ambulatory setting. All of the successful programs had some form of a call back system that sounded efficient and effective. This is something that Alberta can look to improve upon within our clinical pharmacy practice. 
Several talks this year were on the topic of the new blockbusters coming to market, the checkpoint inhibitors. With these agents, it is important to remember that immunotherapy is NOT chemotherapy. Patients experience different adverse effects and the management strategies are completely different from chemotherapy. Another interesting clinical topic was from Dr. Jay Easaw discussing the management of VTE in cancer patients. He mentioned a pilot project in Calgary that has been utilizing community pharmacies for emergency prescribing of low molecular weight heparins in patients who experience DVT’s or PE’s. This sounded like a great program that truly utilized a pharmacist to their full scope of practice in Alberta.
The CAPhO Conference was a great venue for idea sharing and an amazing experience. To hear of the great work across the country for pharmacy within an oncology setting is truly astounding and inspiring. As Larry Broadfield put it, if each pharmacist went out and did at least one astounding thing, imagine what we could accomplish.  
Vincent Ha