If there’s one thing that CSI Pharmacy always wants to do better, it’s to help those who need our services feel more comfortable when they arrive on our doorstep.
“A patient’s first experience with a specialty pharmacy can be very confusing,” says Elizabeth Duruz, RPh. “Getting their treatment approved by the insurance plan and all of the steps that need to take place before the patient even gets the medication, can cause a lot of anxiety.”
That’s why Elizabeth is here. She is a Certified Specialty Pharmacist (CSP), an Immunoglobulin Certified Pharmacist (IgCP), and she was recently hired to serve as Clinical Programs Manager at CSI Pharmacy. Together with our Patient Care Coordinators and Patient Advocates, Elizabeth will welcome new patients to our service, educate them about their therapy, answer their questions, and facilitate the preapproval process.
Elizabeth has been a registered pharmacist for twenty-two years and worked in specialty infusion pharmacy services since 2009. Prior to joining CSI Pharmacy, she was part of a large corporation where her work kept her at a distance from the people she served. That’s why she’s especially happy to take on this role at CSI Pharmacy where she can once again develop the kind of personal connections with patients that make her job so rewarding.
One of her major goals will be to make patients a partner in their own care. She will work together with patients and caregivers to understand their goals for treatment, track the effectiveness of their care, and adjust the treatment plan to optimize their therapy.
“Intravenous immune globulin (IVIG) can be uncomfortable for some patients,” Elizabeth says. “A lot of patients just don’t know there are options. Maybe we can slow down the infusion, for example, or spread it out over more than one day. We don’t want the treatment to be a bigger burden than the condition.”
For Elizabeth, it’s an important asset that she also lives with a rare autoimmune condition called sarcoidosis. It’s an inflammatory disease that causes abnormal masses called granulomas to form in the lungs and other organs in the body. The granulomas often change the way the organs work, causing, for example, shortness of breath and cough.
“I really believe this gives me the ability to see things from a patient standpoint,” she says. “My disease causes extreme fatigue and pain, and my insurance has refused to pay for the specialty medication that was helping me. So I can definitely relate to these same challenges that many of our patients have.”
Elizabeth is a native of Ohio but has lived in Atlanta for nearly a decade where she works remotely. She is also a soccer mom, with two players in the family, a son who is 11 and a 21-year-old daughter. Their family also includes two rescue dogs.
“Because of my illness, I’ve had to stop hiking and the other active things that I liked to do,” Elizabeth says. “But I’ve taught myself how to crochet, I make note cards, and I like to work challenging jigsaw puzzles…things that don’t require a lot of energy to enjoy.”
“I feel really at home at CSI Pharmacy, and I have a very strong passion to make sure our patients do too,” Elizabeth says. “I take it very personally if someone can’t get the treatment they need. So it’s my number one priority to see what I can do to overcome whatever barriers they are encountering.”