The personal side of specialty pharmacy
Care 'Cast videos highlight stories during the pandemic
While specialty pharmacy and infusion pharmacy have always required a deep level of interaction with patients, the COVID-19 pandemic has only reinforced the vital necessity of Optum's patient services.
In our new Care ‘Cast video series, Mike Zeglinski, CEO of Optum Specialty and Optum Infusion pharmacies, will interview various people via video conferencing, from patients quarantined at home, to nursing staff coordinating patient care remotely, to Optum employees adapting to the changing environment brought about by the pandemic. “In this series, I am looking to meet with people from our community and hear their stories,” he says.
The series will spotlight people from across the specialty pharmacy and infusion pharmacy communities affected by the outbreak and highlight how they are responding to the challenge of the moment.
The first video in the series features the story of Ingrid, an Optum Specialty Pharmacy patient who was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer at age 18. Nine years later, she is happy, healthy and doing well. In the video she talks with Mike virtually from her New York City apartment to catch up and chat about life during COVID-19.
Care 'Cast: Episode one
One of things I am particularly proud of is
our ability to tell stories of our patients and what they go through everyday.
For our oncology series I had the privilege
of getting to know and to meet Ingrid.
I figured I would have the opportunity to
share with all of you our recent video conversation that we had and check in and see what she’sdoing during COVID-19 quarantine.
Ingrid how are you?
I have not seen you since January, what’s
Hi, it’s really nice to see you again.
I hope you are well, just living here
in the time of COVID.
So Ingrid, tell us a little bit about what
the overview of your story is.
My story started all the way back in 2011.
I was diagnosed with stage IV lung cancer
adenocarcinoma and I have gone through a bunch
of different treatments since then.
I’ve done IV chemos, radiation, about three
different surgeries to remove some tumors from my lungs.
Currently I am on oral chemo.
like many of us are, but I’m not immunocompromised.
What’s quarantining like for you?
Quarantining for me is just exasperated.
Just more of everything.
I had to tell myself, you know like, this is really unfortunate,
but it's going to pass, just like everything that is pretty bad does.
Just like all my surgeries, all the pain that
I’ve been through, you know, that eventually ended.
I’m trying to keep the same mindset with
I want us all to be very careful and to be very
And the only way to do that is to work together,
You, Mike, work at a company that is probably
really feeling COVID right now.
So I just wonder, how is Optum doing and how
has it been for you and the employees?
Yeah, thanks for asking.
It’s been a lot of work by a lot of incredible
people within our company.
Fortunately for all of us we’re still able
to do all our jobs and our work and take care of people.
I’m happy to hear that.
I mean, I feel it myself.
One of the first thoughts I had when this
all came out was, "Will I get my chemo?"
You know, I have it shipped to my doorstep and not one
thing has changed.
It's still coming every month and I don't
have to worry.
It just gets auto delivered and I'm really
thankful for that.
So thank you.
That’s great, I’m so glad Ingrid to see
that you are doing well.
Thanks for all that you do and it’s really
good to see you again.
Absolutely, take care
Duration: 3 minutes
In our second video, Mike talks with Scott, an Optum Infusion Pharmacy patient, and Jill, the Optum nurse who has been administering the infusions Scott receives in his home. They talk about the benefits of home infusion and about the relationship they have built up during the five years Scott has been receiving treatment.
Care 'Cast: Episode two
Hello everyone, and welcome to the Care ‘Cast.
Today we're going to talk to Scott and Jill, two people who are part of our Optum infusion pharmacy family. Scott has been receiving IVIG therapy with Optum for five years. Jill has been with Optum as a nurse for over six years. And she's been Scott's nurse the entire time he has been receiving his infusions.
Scott and Jill, hello. How are you? It's so good to see you this morning
Nice meeting you Mike, absolutely.
Because of everything going on right now, we are particularly concerned about people receiving their infusions and not everyone may know that receiving an infusion at home is very safe.
Tell us a little bit about what brings you to receiving an infusing in your home... a little bit about your story and your background.
Five years ago, I was diagnosed with CIDP and there were all kinds of options for treatment, but one of them was definitively IVIG.
What drove your decision to decide upon a home infusion?
For me, I have very active lifestyles and I just thought the work that I do, I could be working in home while I'm receiving my infusion. I also couldn't imagine being stuck, sitting in a hospital for six to eight hours.
So, Jill, you said that you started out doing infusions in a clinic or a doctor's office. You moved to homes of people and are doing the infusions in homes. What are some of the differences?
Well, they're in their own environment. They can, you know, sit in their recliner, which most people feel comfortable when they're at home. They can watch TV. If they're getting an infusion over quite a few hours, you know, they, they want to be comfortable in their own atmosphere. I have had patients who have started off in a doctor's office and then had to get it at home and they now won't go back to a doctor's office.
So Jill, during this time, and essentially any time you're an essential worker. You're out. You're in Scott's home. You're not able to self isolate and that's part of your job is as a health care worker to be out and do home infusions.
I'm also a parent, so that's, you know, in the back of my mind, all the time, is protecting my kids. When I get home, I'm taking the same precautions that everybody hopefully is doing with the hand-washing. I'm masking up in public places. I think that I'm doing my part to make my patients feel safe.
It was great speaking with Scott and Jill and catching up with them. What I find most impressive is that even in these times where we are having a self isolate, where we have to quarantine or where we have to take extra precautions, home infusion is even more important now than ever.
Thank you for taking the time with me today. And I look forward to speaking with you at the next episode of the Care ‘Cast.
Duration: 3 minutes
This video series exemplifies how Optum Specialty Pharmacy and Optum Infusion Pharmacy go beyond traditional models to provide care based on the individual's specific needs and point-of-care preferences. While services such as in-home infusions and telehealth have long been a safe and dependable way to meet clinical needs, they are especially crucial during a time like this to help reduce public exposure risk for specialty pharmacy and infusion patients.
This patient-centric approach helps patients better manage their whole health, while helping manage the total cost of care.