CPhT CONNECT™ Magazine - Jan/Feb 2021

Advanced Roles for Pharmacy Technicians By: Rhea Angeles, PharmD, RPh

Traditional Roles Held By Pharmacy Technicians Pharmacy technicians have played a key role in the pharmacy practice for more than five decades. As a pharmacist and former PTCB Certified Pharmacy Technician (CPhT), I am fully aware of the capabilities of CPhTs and their potential for growth within the pharmacy team. With experience in the community setting, I know the value of getting the correct medication to the right patient is more than what occurs at a pick-up window. Sometimes, the process may include registering the patient, fill- ing prescriptions, and maybe even contacting the prescriber to follow up on the status of a prescription that was supposed to be received a few days earlier. In the past, pharmacy technician roles mainly consisted of non-dispensing activities, including handling cash register operations and answering or directing phone calls from patients, providers, and insurance companies. But with recent changes and initiatives such as the creation of state pilot programs, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board’s (PTCB) new advanced credentials, and the progres- sive regulatory landscape, the pharmacy technician’s role in a pharmacy team is advancing. Technicians are taking on more roles and responsibilities to allow pharmacists to be more directly involved in providing clinical services to their patients. Pharmacy technicians are key to a pharmacy’s success. Traditionally, pharmacy technicians’ responsibilities in most pharmacy settings include filling bottles with prescribed

Emerging Roles For Pharmacy Technicians medications, typing and applying labels with directions and other pertinent information, and pre-packing bulk medications. Technicians also resolve insurance issues, handle staff and patient concerns, keep detailed records of on-hand medications and other pharmacy stock, contact prescribers for prescrip- tion refill authorizations, and work on prior authorizations and other tasks delegated by the supervising pharmacist. But, with the shift of pharmacists allocating more time toward direct patient care, pharmacy technicians are needed more than ever. Data from the Pharmacy Workforce Center, a collaboration of national pharmacy organizations, show an increase in the past 15 years in the percentage of pharmacists performing health - care-related services. Therefore, pharmacy technicians are taking on new and expanded roles in the pharmacy arena. Pharmacy technicians are well-positioned to apply their knowledge, experience, and skills to these emerg- ing roles. Point-of-care testing, technician product verification (TPV), immunization administration, and medication therapy management (MTM) while under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist are just some of the advanced roles held by CPhTs with research to support technicians performing these duties. Tasks that were once specific to pharmacists are now being delegated to CPhTs as pharmacists transition to a larger focus on patient care.

CPhT CONNECT www.pharmacy technician.org


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