Change is constant within health care, but the pharmacy profession has been driving change for decades, with even more happening in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Because of this change, our two recent podcast guests have been dedicated to leading the charge as it relates to research that highlights the pharmacy technician profession.
For Episode 16 of OnScript, Jeremy and Jessica speak with Dr. Shane Desselle, RPh, PhD, FAPhA from Touro University California College of Pharmacy and Dr. Kenneth Hohmeier, Pharm.D. from The University of Tennessee Health Science Center College of Pharmacy about their ongoing research in pharmacy technician workforce issues.
The Optimizing Model: A Study
In this episode, the doctors discuss their published paper, “Exploring the implementation of a novel optimizing care model in the community pharmacy setting,” for which they were awarded the 2020 Wiederholt Prize by the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association. The paper explores the positive impact technician product verification can have on enhancing patient care delivery, as well as successes and concerns with implementing such a model.
As the role of the pharmacy technicians comes into greater focus, along with the instant change in scope of practice brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, Drs. Desselle and Hohmeier’s work is particularly apropos.
National and governmental organizations, seeing the value of utilizing pharmacists to their full potential, now call for increased access and delivery of community pharmacy-based services. At the same time, patient demand and satisfaction with pharmacist care are on the rise, which requires the successful integration of the pharmacy technician’s expanded role.
What is the Optimizing Care Model?
The Optimizing Care Model is an innovative approach to community pharmacy practice aiming to foster a new patient-centered care delivery model that expands clinical service delivery and fosters collaboration across health care settings through task delegation of product verification (e.g., technician product verification, tech-check-tech).
Six Themes in Looking At the Optimizing Care Model
The study identified the following six key themes:
- The Optimizing Care Model catalyzes patient care service delivery expansion in the community pharmacy setting.
- Effectiveness is driven by “freed-up” pharmacist time compared with the traditional model.
- The model positively affects roles and job satisfaction of pharmacy personnel.
- Technician engagement and ownership have a strong impact on the success and ramifications of the model.
- Significant changes to pharmacy operations are necessary for successful implementation.
- There are several factors ensuring successful implementation and sustaining of the Optimizing Care Model.
Need for Patient Satisfaction
In looking at the Optimizing Care Model, pharmacists and employers would be remiss to not address the need for all who are working in the pharmacy to have well-developed soft skills. While the pharmacy technician should have the practical skills and know-how to get the job done, the manner in which the technician interacts with both team members and patient is key.
Fortunately, NHA's online, interactive virtual simulation learning tool, PersonAbility™, teaches soft skills specific to a pharmacy setting. For busy pharmacies, this self-paced tool is a practical way to allow technicians to virtually respond to challenging patient interactions without decreasing your customer satisfaction score. It's simulated pharmacy-specific patient encounters allow for the working out of a technician's "soft skills muscle" until an acceptable response becomes second nature.
Hiring Pharmacy Technicians
Did you know that many healthcare employers now prioritize a new hire's proficiency in soft skills over their clinical knowledge or technical expertise? PersonAbility™ meets the need for a soft skills certification/training solution that effectively helps technicians improve in key areas such as communication, empathy, and professionalism. These soft skills can help drive career growth, strengthen care teams, and improve the patient experience.
Additionally, for those who train and educate soon-to-be pharmacy technicians, NHA is now including a Career Kit for each PersonAbility™ unit purchased (or renewed). This value-add is a special bonus for learners, providing downloadable resume templates, cover letters, interview tips, and more, all specific to the pharmacy technician profession, and at no additional cost.
You can learn more about PersonAbility™ and the Career Kit here.