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In-Office Dispensing Team Provides Hope and Community During Challenging Times

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Alana Kroll, director of the In-Office Dispensing Team at Mission Cancer + Blood, knows that empathy and efficiency go hand-in-hand. Mission offers in-office dispensing which provides patients a choice when it comes to fulfilling their oral chemotherapy orders.  The in-office dispensing team, led by Alana, allows the patient to receive seamless integrated care with top-notch customer service. 

With over 20 years of pharmaceutical experience, Kroll is an expert at helping patients fully understand their prescribed treatment and serving as a friend and confidante during difficult times. “I’ve been so lucky in my career, between the excellent mentors who have guided me and the team I’m blessed to have now,” Kroll said. “I have such incredible support.”

Yet, at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, Kroll was facing a brand-new career challenge: How to run an in-office dispensary without the full team being at the same location.

“Excellent, seamless patient care is our top priority, and providing oral treatment is vital,” Kroll said. “My team and I needed to come together quickly and form a game plan for success.”

Kroll and her team of two full-time pharmacy technicians devised a work schedule that ensured one person was always on-site at the dispensary, and the team does daily check-ins. “We are in constant communication,” Kroll said. “As a manager you worry if you’re doing enough, but what I learned quickly is the easiest way to provide support is just really listen, be present and be honest.”

Open communication has always been key to Kroll and her team, even before the pandemic. “The in-office dispensing team is much more than a pharmacy, because filling an oral cancer treatment isn’t the same as filling a prescription at your neighborhood store,” Kroll explained. “Due to the numerous financial and insurance considerations, as well as the very delicate and complex nature of the treatment itself, my team works alongside our oncologists and RNs before, during and after treatment. We get very close to our patients.”

The goal for an oral chemotherapy treatment is for the patient to receive their medication(s) at their scheduled follow up appointments. “We closely monitor these treatments in partnership with our physicians and nurse teams, and we work together on delivery methods, treatment adjustments as needed and any side effects or issues the patient is experiencing,” Kroll said. “This is a very active and fluid process, and we care deeply about making sure every patient feels they have everything they need, including emotional support.”

The Mission Cancer + Blood patients seem equally concerned that Kroll and her team know they are supported. “Our patients are the best,” Kroll said. “Here they are, going through what is probably the most stressful time in their lives, all during COVID-19, and they continue to thank us for our dedication and truly express concern for our well-being. Their kindness is a blessing.”

Despite the current challenges and uncertainty, there is one thing Kroll is sure of. “There is nothing else I’d rather be doing, and no team I’d rather be working alongside.”

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