Pharmacy technicians are stepping up to assume expanded responsibilities that contribute to pharmacy management and patient safety.
As the role of pharmacists continues to shift to more direct patient care, pharmacy technicians are stepping up to assume expanded responsibilities that contribute to pharmacy management and patient safety.
Whether in community pharmacies or health system settings, pharmacy technicians are increasingly tasked with the final check of dispensed medications to confirm accuracy. Studies show that Technician Product Verification (TPV) is as accurate or more accurate than the same work done by pharmacists and can improve efficiency and advance patient care.1 Having an additional layer of verification conducted by trained pharmacy technicians can significantly reduce the chances of medication errors—one of the primary goals of TPV. Catching errors early in the process avoids potential harm to patients and prevents the need for corrective actions later on, saving time and resources.
TPV also enables pharmacists to spend more time providing appropriate counseling to patients about medication instructions, potential side effects, and any necessary precautions to patients. This counseling is necessary for patient understanding and adherence to prescribed treatments and contributes to a positive patient experience.
Furthermore, TPV can also improve pharmacy management and streamline the dispensing workflow. By verifying products at the technician level, TPV allows for greater capacity within the pharmacy. Technicians can handle a larger volume of prescription orders, freeing pharmacists to focus on more complex clinical tasks and patient consultations. When technicians verify products accurately, it reduces the need for rework or corrections, minimizing delays and interruptions in the dispensing process. This optimization leads to improved efficiency and productivity within the pharmacy team.
Na'Velle Lee, CPhT-Adv, Pharmacy Operations Manager for AbsoluteCare in Columbia, Maryland, sees the value that earning a Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) Technician Product Verification Certificate brings to his pharmacy.
“There are jobs out there where employers are looking for pharmacy technicians with knowledge in areas that originally only pharmacists handled. There are leadership roles for technicians, and these certificates will help in the hiring process for employers,” Lee said.
PTCB launched its Technician Product Verification Certificate Program in 2019 based on feedback from the pharmacy community expressing a desire for specialized and advanced credentials to allow Certified Pharmacy Technicians to demonstrate their knowledge and skills in specific practice areas. Recognizing them for their advanced responsibilities rewards their dedication to patient care, improves efficiency, and reinforces safe medication practices. More than 1500 technicians have earned PTCB Technician Product Verification Certificates.
“Having the Medication Therapy Management, Medication History, Billing and Reimbursement, and Technician Product Verification certificates raise the bar for when I open new pharmacy sites and showcase my knowledge, strengths, and expertise as a pharmacy leader. I can teach and train technicians, and even pharmacists, on product verification,” Lee said.
In states with established guidelines and regulations for final product verification, TPV-certified technicians can also help ensure their pharmacy complies with regulatory requirements.
“We know technicians do excellent work in product verification based on data, and they are already conducting TPV in states across the country,” said David Bright, PharmD, MBA, BCACP, an associate professor in the Department of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Ferris State University College of Pharmacy and Past President of PTCB’s Certification Council. “When qualified technicians handle final checks of medications, the pharmacy team can become more efficient, and pharmacists can focus on direct patient care to a greater degree.”
TPV promotes effective collaboration between pharmacy technicians and pharmacists, enhancing overall pharmacy management and reinforcing a culture of patient safety by optimizing workflow, reducing errors, increasing capacity, improving patient satisfaction, and ensuring regulatory compliance. By delegating the verification process to certified pharmacy technicians, pharmacies can operate more efficiently and focus on providing quality patient care and comprehensive pharmacy services.
Hohmeier KC, Garst A, Adkins L, et al. The Optimizing Care Model: A novel community pharmacy approach to enhance patient care delivery by leveraging the technician workforce through technician product verification. J Am Pharm Assoc. 2019;59(6):880-885. doi:10.1016/j.japh.2019.07.009