Teamwork, Technology Helps to Strengthen Pharmacy Services

Bri Morris, PharmD, senior director of Education and the Long-Term Care Division at the National Community Pharmacists Association, discusses the importance of teamwork in the pharmacy.

Bri Morris, PharmD, senior director of Education and the Long-Term Care Division at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), discusses the importance of teamwork in the pharmacy.

Q: What is the importance of teamwork in the pharmacy?

Bri Morris: As we've seen over the last couple of years through COVID, it's very important. Pharmacies have been busier than they ever have, and they have been able to provide unprecedented service to their communities. They cannot do that without their teams. We're so excited this year at the NCPA Convention to welcome lots of support staff and teams who have really helped us get through the last few years.

Q: How can pharmacies improve workflow and efficiencies to lighten their workload?

Bri Morris: Absolutely. Through working with their support staff and their other non-pharmacists team to take on new roles in the business and keeping that pharmacist role dedicated to things that you have to have a pharmacist for through their practice act.

Q: How can technicians be effectively utilized to take over more responsibilities from pharmacists?

Bri Morris: Technicians have taken on so many different roles over the last few years, and you’ll see it here at the NCPA Convention, we have more support staff as speakers than we have ever had in the past. I was actually talking to one of our speakers the other day, who has a technician that is managing all of their immunizations, and they're giving 1000s and 1000s a year. She's to the point where now she's going to hire support staff for her support staff because they have grown so much. I think that the pharmacy team is a lot bigger than just the pharmacists that are working there, and I'm so excited about this kind of change that we have seen in the industry and how technicians and other support staff are really getting the recognition that they deserve.

Q: How does technology help bridge the gap between increasing responsibilities and staffing challenges?

Bri Morris: Yeah, technology is very important in any industry, but we especially see it in pharmacy to be able to improve some of those workflow efficiencies, especially as we dive a little bit deeper into the service model and how pharmacists and their teams getting out from behind the counter to offer a lot more services. We really need technology to help tighten up that dispensing model and be able to help us out in that way.

Q: What are some ways in which the business of pharmacy changed during the pandemic that you see sticking long term?

Bri Morris: During the pandemic, pharmacies had to adapt very quickly to meet the needs of their patients and their communities, so we saw things like curbside delivery COVID-19 testing, immunizations and immunizations by support staff when maybe you hadn't tried that before, large scale vaccination clinics, doing immunization clinics for your long-term care patients, which may not have been a sector that you had gotten into before. I think all of those different service opportunities will continue to stick around. I see point-of-care testing being a huge opportunity for pharmacies in the next decade. I think it'll become as important as immunizations has been to the profession, and we'll continue to see the role of both the pharmacist technician and other support staff just continue to evolve as we move into the future.