At many places, pharmacists are being stretched to the limit — filling prescriptions, administering immunizations, attending to drive-through customers, answering telephones, and dealing with patients, doctors, and insurance companies.
Where do pharmacists need the most help?
Pharmacists need help in delivering top-notch care to patients and minimizing medication errors. One potent way to help them, according to some healthcare authorities, is by expanding the role of pharmacy technicians. Just about all of the duties listed above can be handled in one way or another by pharmacy technicians, if not independently, then with the help of the pharmacist. The only task entirely outside the purview of the technician is counseling patients.
The impetus for such a change, however, needs to come from pharmacy corporate headquarters and state regulatory bodies.
With pharmacists facing such a crushing burden, the profession cannot waste time haggling over technicians’ scope of practice guidelines. There is a great deal of research showing how much pharmacy technicians can add to the efficient and effective operation of the pharmacy. The pharmacy industry needs to give technicians greater support, which will, in the end, result in better pharmacy operations and fewer medication errors.
Here are 4 ways to expand pharmacy technicians’ roles:
Require accredited certification:
At a minimum, a person should pass a nationally accredited certification exam to become a pharmacy technician to show that they have the required knowledge and skills to do the job. Currently, that is not the case in all states.
Beyond that, there is currently no standard educational requirement to prepare for the job. In many states, a high school degree is all that is required. There are other educational paths available also, such as pharmacy technician training programs and on-the-job training.
Clearly define job guidelines and duties:
Pharmacy state boards need to take the lead in developing job guidelines, a framework detailing the knowledge and skills a person should have, as well as guidelines for professional growth and development. Seven states still have no guidelines at all in place, spelling out minimum requirements for pharmacy technicians. These states don’t require any kind of education or training, certification, or license.
Encourage pharmacists to delegate tasks:
Pharmacists should feel comfortable delegating tasks to other staff, such as technicians.
If pharmacists delegate tasks to other staff members, they’ll have more time to focus on higher-level tasks. They won’t be stretched as thin which will increase productivity, time efficiency, and help others learn new skills.
Free pharmacists from overly time-consuming routines:
Pharmacists should be freed from time-consuming routines so they can take on the role of healthcare providers. Instead, they can use their training to give clinical services to patients and avoid dispensing related duties that take up excessive time. In many states, technicians have the skills and state-sanctioned credentials needed to take over these duties and should be allowed to do so.
Rx relief is one of the top pharmacy placement firms, with the awards to prove it. Rx relief works with each pharmacist individually, partnering with them to provide the best service possible. If your company or healthcare organization is looking for pharmacists, give Rx relief a call today.