The role of the pharmacy technician is evolving. What used to be a strictly clerical role with desk duties is shifting into areas of greater complexity that require more specialized training and skills.
Here’s what’s shifting now.
Greater operational management is needed
Pharmacy technicians’ operation management role is expanding to new levels. In some areas, these leadership positions already exist, and others are seeing their value. This helps to share some of the responsibility, giving pharmacy technicians more specialization and relieving some of the duties from the pharmacist. (Source)
Technicians could be taking on more pharmacist-like duties
The fact is, there aren’t enough pharmacists to fill the growing need. The potential for pharmacy technicians’ role to extend even further is being debated, especially in areas where there are no pharmacists at all. (Source) The scope of these expanded duties varies state by state and is dependent on local laws and regulations.
“I think that the responsibilities of technicians have grown considerably, especially during the last couple years,” says Hannah Peabody, CPhT at the Patient Rx Center of Hematology/Oncology Associates of Central New York. “As pharmacies have become busier, technicians have had to step up and take on a greater role to help the pharmacist.” (Source)
Community pharmacies are expanding their scope of practice
The services provided by many community pharmacies is growing in scope. 93% of Americans live within five miles of a neighborhood pharmacy and 60%, the highest ever, are taking prescription drugs. Perhaps more than ever, pharmacies serve a vital role in our healthcare and our communities.
Lyndsey McDonald, Strategic Partnerships for ExCPT, expects states to be more specific in their training and certification requirements for technicians in order to match their expanding scope of practice.
“Community pharmacies play an important role in healthcare delivery,” McDonald says. “Technicians are an integral part of the care team.”
As the pharmacy technician's duties continue to evolve, the need for certification will likely rise. It’s not only what’s best for the customer, but expanding the role of the pharmacy technician can also have huge benefits for the pharmacists they’re helping, and of course, for the pharmacy technicians themselves.
NHA is always evaluating what the industry needs in regards to advanced pharmacy technician training and/or certification. As we develop learning resources, they must align with the needs of the market and provide value to both pharmacy technicians and their employers.
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