Advancing the role of the pharmacy technician: A systematic review

Published:November 03, 2017DOI:



      To summarize the findings of a literature search on advancing the role of pharmacy technicians, including the types of training identified and the potential costs and benefits to both the technician and the pharmacy.

      Data sources

      A literature search of Scopus, Embase, and Medline was conducted on January 11, 2017.

      Study selection

      Original research, research reports, case studies, or association reports were included for review. Articles were considered to be relevant based on identification of an advanced pharmacy technician role or addressing additional training/education for technician functions.

      Data extraction

      A standard data extraction form was used to collect study authors, article title, year published, journal title, study design, brief description of methods, primary outcome measures, advanced technician roles identified, additional education or training addressed, and additional costs and benefits identified in each article.


      A total of 33 articles were included for full review and data extraction. Study design varied, with 17 (52%) quantitative, 1 (3%) qualitative, 5 (15%) mixed-method, and 10 (30%) case study designs. Seventeen (52%) of the studies included were published after 2006. The mechanism of training was primarily through supervised on-the-job training, allowing technicians to assume administrative-based positions that facilitated a pharmacist-led clinical service, with either the pharmacist or the pharmacy receiving the greatest benefits.


      Although the literature supports technicians performing advanced roles in the pharmacy, resulting in either improved patient outcomes or opportunities for pharmacists to engage in additional clinical services, the benefits to the technician were primarily indirect, such as an increase in job satisfaction or a more desirable work schedule. If a technician is to take on additional roles that require completion of a formalized training or educational program, benefits that are more tangible may help to inspire technicians to pursue these roles.
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      Ashlee N. Mattingly, PharmD, BCPS, Pharmacist and PharmTechX Coordinator, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD


      T. Joseph Mattingly II, PharmD, MBA, Assistant Professor, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD