There are a lot of areas for technicians to get involved in the specialty pharmacy space, and it is imperative for forward thinking pharmacies and pharmacy owners to engage technicians in the different roles at the pharmacy, according to a session at the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) 2020 Annual Meeting & Expo Virtual Experience on September 15, 2020.

It makes the most sense to get more technicians involved when pharmacies are continuing to grow, since the number of roles that are needed to operate are well suited for technicians, said Jonathan Ogurchak, PharmD, CSP and education consultant at NASP.

“Pharmacies exist because of technicians,” Ogurchak said.

Ogurchak explained how the roles need to be differentiated because inefficiencies can happen within the workflow of the organization. The specialty pharmacy workflow parallels the community setting in many ways, from sending the prescription to refilling the prescription. The staffing model associated with the workflow tends to be different, giving technicians more ways to be engaged in the right role for their personal preference.

For example, a nonclinician or a technician can be responsible for the first step in the workflow, capturing clinical information about the patient and identifying any missing information about that person in the data to help expedite the process. Further, a nonclinician or technician may also fit in the benefits investigation and benefit verification stage, completing an electronic check for insurance details about the patient before getting too far along in the process.

Ogurchak also said how there are a number of ancillary areas that technicians may find a fit, such as accounting/finance, business development, and human resources. These opportunities stem from the various expectations that each employer seeks, such as certification, training, and experience.  

As for next steps, one way that a technician can expand their role is through tech-check-tech programs, allowing for practice at the top of both pharmacist and technician licensure. Further, there are several agencies that are responsible for pharmacy technician certifications and other enhanced certificate programs for the expanded scope.

Specialty continuing education is crucial for technicians to expand and focus on their specialty content, according to Ogurchak. 


REFERENCE

Ogurchak, J. Expanding the Technician Role in Specialty Pharmacy. Virtual NASP 2020 Annual Meeting and Expo. Presented September 15, 2020. Accessed September 16, 2020.