December 1, 2021

Subcutaneous Biologic Home Delivery (SILVER) Service: World-first initiative

The Northern Health Department of Gastroenterology Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) Service, is offering a Subcutaneous Biologic Home Delivery (SILVER) Service in collaboration with the Department of Pharmacy.

Launched earlier this year, The SILVER Service is expected to eventually deliver to over 100 of the IBD Clinic patients.

This world-first service is a home delivery service providing delivery from the hospital’s pharmacy of self-injectable IBD medication to patients’ homes, offered to patients at Northern Health’s IBD Clinic.

The medication is ordered and dispensed within the pharmacy, and is delivered by a Pharmacy Technician who is part of the IBD Team – Andrew Leake – the first IBD Pharmacy Technician in the world.

Andrew Leake at the launch of SILVER Service

A/Prof Mayur Garg, Director of Gastroenterology, says, “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. Subcutaneous biologics require patients to fill their scripts at local community pharmacies and self-administration. Stock availability of these specialised medications at local pharmacies 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, and hence need additional support.”

“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,” he adds.

Andrew states, “It has been quite exciting to be a part of starting this service, and the patients in general have been very thankful. 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, empowerment of this vulnerable group of patients with a chronic disease, and one that is already showing very promising results. Northern Health can be truly proud of this service,” says Mayur.

Vinod Chellaram, Director of Pharmacy, says, “Northern Health Pharmacy is always exploring innovative ways to deliver pharmacy services to the community and this is a valuable initiative. 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.”

Featured image shows from left to right: Kate Murphy, IBD CNC, Andrew Tsoi, IBD Fellow, Nicola Dalgleish,  Gastroenterology Research Nurse, Tanya Williams, IBD CNC, Meera Rajendran, IBD Pharmacist, A/Prof Mayur Garg, Director of Gastroenterology and in the foreground Andrew Leake, IBD Pharmacy Technician.