A world-first silver service

Northern Health’s department of gastroenterology’s inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) service is offering a subcutaneous biologic home delivery (SILVER) service in collaboration with the department of pharmacy.

Launched in early 2021, the SILVER service is expected to eventually treat more than 100 IBD clinic patients.

This world-first service provides home delivery of self-injectable IBD medication from the hospital pharmacy.

The medication is ordered and dispensed within the pharmacy and is delivered by Andrew Leake – the first IBD pharmacy technician in the world.

‘Biological medications are prescribed for those with moderate-severe IBD – Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis – which have a significant impairment on quality of life,’ said director of gastroenterology Mayur Garg.

‘Subcutaneous biologics require patients to fill their scripts at local pharmacies for self-administration.

‘Stock availability of these specialised medications can vary and many patients require additional compassionate medications that community pharmacies are unfamiliar with handling.

‘Furthermore, many patients are anxious about self-administering subcutaneous medications – hence the need for additional support,’ Associate Professor Garg said.

‘These anxieties have been compounded in the COVID era with limited face-to-face contact with clinicians.

‘The SILVER service enables additional support, with patients not having to worry about obtaining stock and allowing direct reporting of any concerns about these medications to our team.’

‘It has been quite exciting to be a part of starting this service and the patients have been very thankful,’ Mr Leake said.

‘They have appreciated how it has made things easier for them, especially during COVID, and are often pleasantly surprised that we offer the service.

‘The extra layer of support and connection with these patients has already been valuable for the quality of their care on numerous occasions.’

‘The SILVER service is a first-in-world initiative that aims to increase patient adherence to medications, engagement and empowerment of this vulnerable group of patients with a chronic disease – one that is already showing very promising results. Northern Health can be truly proud of this service,’ Associate Professor Garg said.

‘Northern Health pharmacy is always exploring innovative ways to deliver pharmacy services to the community and this is a valuable initiative,’ said director of pharmacy Vinod Chellaram.

‘The SILVER service is one way that we are providing the best care to our patients.

‘The extension of pharmacy technician roles into different areas, such as this, is evidence of the positive impact it has – on not only patient health outcomes but also a positive patient experience.’

Pictured above.

Northern Health IBD clinical nurse consultant (CNC) Kate Murphy, IBD fellow Andrew Tsoi, Andrew Leake, gastroenterology research nurse Nicola Dalgleish, IBD CNC Tanya Williams, IBD pharmacist Meera Rajendran and Associate Professor Mayur Garg.