The Alberta College of Pharmacists recently undertook work to modernize the role statements for pharmacy technicians and pharmacists. They’ve been requesting feedback on whether the revised draft statements adequately encompass what pharmacy technicians and pharmacists do in their practice, and whether they clearly describe these roles for patients and other healthcare professionals. PTSA’s review of the proposed statements was focused on what patients can expect of their pharmacy technicians.
While it’s a novel approach, PTSA is supportive of a role statement written from the patient’s perspective. By considering how the roles could be explained to a patient, pharmacy technicians and pharmacists can better understand how their roles are complimentary to each other. Improvements can still be made to the statements to reinforce what each of the professional groups do to apply their specialist skill sets.
PTSA feels that the breadth of responsibility of the pharmacy technician’s role is not sufficiently captured in many of the points of the proposed statement. Collaboration with the pharmacist and other healthcare professionals is an inherent component of the pharmacy technician’s role; just as collaborating with the pharmacy technician is necessary for pharmacists. PTSA recommended to ACP that the focus of the pharmacy technician’s role statement is on what the pharmacy technician does and not how they collaborate to do it. The collaborative relationship between the pharmacy technician and pharmacist is of primary importance in meeting patients’ health and drug therapy goals and should be reflected in the role statement; however, it is not necessary to restate how this happens in each aspect of the work pharmacy technicians do.
PTSA feels further revisions are needed to the role statement to capture the importance of the pharmacy technician’s role in providing care and supporting the patient. This incudes taking responsibility as a health professional for tasks performed fulfilling the role. Pharmacy technicians manage inventory independently; they educate, train and support patients with ongoing needs related to health care aids and devices; they collect and record personal health information in order for care to be provided. Pharmacy technicians also apply their expertise to supervise and lead compounding activities and teach and precept.
In order to ensure these important points are incorporated into the role statement, PTSA provided ACP with a revised statement for consideration:
Suggested Pharmacy Technician Role Statement
When providing care to me and my family, my pharmacy technician uses a unique set of skills related to medication preparation and distribution. They:
- Collaborate with my pharmacist and other members of my healthcare team to support me in achieving my health goals.
- Review my prescriptions to confirm they are complete and prepare my medications accurately. They ensure my medications are packaged and labelled uniquely for my needs, so that I can store and take them properly.
- Develop procedures and use their compounding expertise to ensure high quality standards are met when preparing my medications. They compound drugs according to standardized formulations using environmental controls, so that the compounded products I receive are of good quality and are safe for me and/or my family to use.
- Collect and record my personal health information in order to maintain accurate pharmacy records. They facilitate the transfer of my health information to other members of my healthcare team as required.
- Manage and regularly review their drug inventory, storage, preparation, and distribution systems to monitor and respond to risks that may impact our safety.
- Educate, train and support me and my family so that we are able to use our health care aids and devices properly. Together, we discuss the ongoing use of our health care aids and devices and our ability to use them appropriately and effectively.
- Help me select non-prescription remedies and use their skills and professional judgement to respond to my questions.
- Support me in understanding programs that help me access my medications affordably and promote my health and wellness.
While it is not addressed in the proposed modernized role statements, a component of the pharmacy technician’s role that must also be addressed through revisions to Schedule 19 of the Health Professions Act relate to pharmacy technicians practicing under the direction of a pharmacist. While a pharmacy technician should perform restricted activities under a pharmacist’s direction, most activities a pharmacy technician completes are more appropriately achieved through a collaborative relationship with the pharmacist. Pharmacy technicians do not need to practice at the same pharmacy location as a pharmacist in order to fulfill their role. Until these changes are made, clarity about the role specialties will be difficult to achieve.
Do you agree with what PTSA has proposed?