In honor of today’s National Pharmacy Technician Day, we want to highlight one more way pharmacy technicians are making a difference in their pharmacies and communities.
Pharmacy technician roles have evolved and techs have embraced many new opportunities and have excelled in them. Whether performing MTM duties or compounding, techs are an important part of the day-to-day functions of all pharmacies, helping to improve patient safety and quality of life. One valuable tech skill in particular will be put to use on this year's "Check Your Meds Day:" collecting and documenting accurate medication histories.
October 21, 2017 was the first national “Check Your Meds Day,” and technicians will undoubtedly help make it a success. According to a recent QuintilesIMS report, it's estimated that Americans spend around $200 billion annually on unnecessary medication regimens.
On “Check Your Meds Day,” patients are invited to bring in all of their medications and have a pharmacist review them for appropriateness of use. Technicians can play an important role in this process by documenting all prescription and over-the-counter medications and supplements, as well as dosages, route of administration, and frequency of use.
Pharmacy techs are trained to collect important patient demographic and medical history prior to filling prescriptions. Some research has shown that technicians are just as accurate as pharmacists – and often more accurate than nurses – at performing medication reconciliation.
The QuintilesIMS report also estimates that as much as 1/3 of patients aged 55 and older take five to ten medications, and just under 10% take more than 10. With so many medications being taken to treat a variety of disease states, patients often have more than one provider, so it’s more critical than ever to obtain accurate medication lists.
Technicians documenting an accurate list of current medications can greatly improve the process of pharmacists performing a complete medication review. Based on early data, it's estimated that at least half of all patients who participate in these medication reviews will be taken off of at least one medication, likely saving the patient money, but more importantly, improving patient outcomes by making it easier to stay adherent to other therapies, and possibly even getting rid of undesirable side effects.
In honor of National Pharmacy Technician Day and “Check Your Meds Day,” we want to acknowledge and appreciate the value that pharmacy technicians add to the healthcare system and their patients' lives.
Pharmacy technicians’ dedication to the profession and to patient safety deserve to be celebrated!