Specialty continuing education is crucial for technicians to expand and focus on their specialty content.
Technicians can get involved in many areas of the specialty pharmacy space, and forwardthinking pharmacies and pharmacy owners must engage technicians in the different roles, according to a session at the National Association of Specialty Pharmacy (NASP) 2020 Annual Meeting & Expo Virtual Experience.
It makes the most sense to get more technicians involved when pharmacies are continuing to grow because since a number of roles needed to operate are well suited for technicians, said Jonathan Ogurchak, PharmD, CSP, an education consultant at NASP. “Pharmacies exist because of technicians,” he 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 and in the right role for their 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 a technician may also fit into 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 that technicians may be a better fit in ancillary areas, such as accounting and finance, business development, and human resources. This stems from the various expectations that each employer seeks, such as certification, training, and experience.
As for next steps, one way technicians can expand their role is through tech-check-tech programs, allowing for practice at the top of both pharmacist and technician licensure. Several agencies 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, Ogurchak said.
1. Ogurchak, J. Expanding the technician role in specialty pharmacy. Presented at: National Association of Specialty Pharmacy 2020 Annual Meeting & Expo Virtual Experience; September 14-18, 2020.