Round the Clock Care Saves Lives

Accredo and UBC nurses provide round the clock clinical support

Round the Clock Care Saves Lives

A nurse doesn’t need to be in the same room, or even the same state, to save patients’ lives.

Take the example of one Accredo Specialty Pharmacy patient who needed therapy while visiting Las Vegas.

She was at a slot machine that just kept paying out. She also needed life-sustaining infused medication for her pulmonary hypertension — high blood pressure in the main artery to the lungs, a condition that has no cure but can be medically managed. She didn’t gamble with her life. She called her nurse team at Accredo and asked to have the medication sent to the casino.

She hit the jackpot from a customer service perspective.

That’s just one example of the lengths the Accredo team goes to in order to make sure patients get the medications and supplies they need.

A team of 16 specially trained registered nurses at Accredo, who make up the National Clinical Support Center (NCSC), saves lives around the clock, providing emergency phone assistance for more than 12,000 pulmonary hypertension patients who rely on high-tech pumps that continually infuse their medication.

The intravenous drugs used to treat pulmonary hypertension  are generally blood vessel dilators. However, the drawback is that they have a very short half-life, so the dose must be uninterrupted. Patients on this therapy wear small pumps, which infuse the medication through a central line catheter that is inserted into the large vein above the right atrium of the heart.

A failure of the pump — or a clotted, detached or broken line — can lead within minutes to exacerbation of symptoms, and even heart failure and cardiopulmonary arrest. That’s why it’s necessary to have a team of experts available around the clock.

Nurses staffing the NCSC are experienced, tenured nurses who work often work from home.Team members speak to each other often, and new team members spend time at their mentor’s home as well as the homes of other team members. In addition to having each other for support, they connect regularly with specialist pharmacists who counsel pulmonary hypertension patients and with Accredo field nurses who provide in-home care.

The NCSC nurses are expected to maintain current knowledge regarding pulmonary hypertension treatments, pumps, supplies and business organization processes. 

Patients and caregivers receive thorough training in pump operation, dressing care and mixing of their medication.

However, a failure or complication with routine procedures can quickly become an emergency. Sudden changes in temperature can cause condensation in the pump. Patients can drop pumps or accidentally disconnect their lines. They can get delayed in travels without a backup pump or sufficient medication or supplies. In one memorable example, a pet rabbit once bit through a child’s central line.

Team members often advise physicians in rural healthcare facilities where no one on staff is familiar with the infusion pumps. They similarly advise emergency medical technicians who respond to a patient crisis.

In addition to Accredo’s nurses, UBC has a highly trained staff of Registered Nurses and an extensive nurse network that coordinates clinical services nationwide.  Clinical support is a core competency for UBC and our nurses provide product and disease specific support and education to patients, caregivers and physicians.  We specialize in injection education, disease management and therapy compliance support. The goal of our nurses is to positively enhance the knowledge of patients and HCPs in order to maximize product awareness, adherence and ultimately treatment success.

UBC nurses also staff our clinical support center and handle inbound calls from patients and physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  Nurses assist callers with day to day questions about their therapy, conduct outbound adherence calls and provide the high touch support needed to help set patients up for long term success on therapy.