The National Healthcareer Association (NHA) has formed a unique, nationwide Pharmacy Technician Coalition. The coalition is focused solely on bringing pharmacy technician organizations, industry leaders, and associations together to advocate for and implement changes to expand the role of certified pharmacy technicians (CPhT), allowing them to help with needs during COVID-19. As pharmacies continue to provide more direct patient care services and are faced with increased workload during the pandemic, CPhTs have an opportunity to help with some of the pharmacists’ duties, to be more efficient in delivering patient care.
The launch of this group is part of a proactive, collaborative advocacy campaign focused on supporting and raising awareness about the valuable role technicians play in caring for patients during these unprecedented times. Pharmacies are preparing for an influx of individuals seeking COVID-19 testing and, eventually, vaccinations. The coalition seeks to help expand the role of CPhTs - allowing them to administer vaccinations and perform necessary testing - leaving time for the pharmacist to focus on other tasks such as interpreting results and collaborating with other providers to treat, or in some cases, directly prescribe and dispense appropriate therapy.
“We know that well-trained, certified pharmacy technicians are capable of performing point-of-care testing and administering immunizations during the current health crisis and in the future,” said Jessica Langely-Loep, Executive Director of Education and Advocacy at NHA. “This coalition of key pharmacy influencers will help us get that message out, with the hope of influencing regulatory change across the country.”
Amid needs from COVID-19, the coalition aims to expand pharmacy technician's scope of practice.
As a result of the global pandemic, the supply of qualified healthcare providers is increasingly limited, and the impact is being felt now more than ever. Certified pharmacy technicians are highly skilled and trained frontline healthcare professionals but are currently only authorized to immunize in a small number of states. The coalition will take actions to expand this capability to all 50 states. With help from properly trained CPhTs, pharmacies will also be well-equipped to provide communities with access to testing, to relieve some of the burden placed on the pharmacist.
Expanding the duties of CPhTs will increase pharmacy workload capacity, thereby giving time back to the pharmacist for patient consultations, as well as will allow CPhTs to play a more important role in healthcare. There is also an opportunity to increase the number of immunizations provided by pharmacies across the country, and increase education, leading to higher vaccination adherence.
“In 2016, Albertsons Companies became the first company in the country to train pharmacy technicians to administer immunizations,” said Rob Geddes, PharmD, Director of Pharmacy Legislative and Regulatory Affairs at Albertsons Companies. “Since then, our technicians have successfully given thousands of immunizations in states where allowed and eased administrative burdens on our pharmacists as their scope of practice continues to expand. By training pharmacy technicians to share the role of administering immunizations, our company has developed new pathways for technician career advancement, increased job satisfaction, and deepened loyalty to the practice of pharmacy.”
The coalition looks to create industry collaboration throughout the entire pharmacy community and to directly engage Boards of Pharmacy in each of the states that do not currently allow CPhTs to administer immunizations. Another focus of the group is to lobby at the federal level to expand the role of CPhTs and educate the industry, legislators and State Boards of Pharmacy about the ongoing opportunity to expand the role of CPhTs.
To learn more, visit https://info.nhanow.com/pt-coalition.