Advertisement

Advancing the role of the pharmacy technician: A systematic review

Published:November 03, 2017DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/j.japh.2017.10.015

      Abstract

      Objectives

      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.

      Results

      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.

      Conclusion

      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.
      To read this article in full you will need to make a payment
      APhA Member Login
      APhA Members, full access to the journal is a member benefit. Use your society credentials to access all journal content and features
      Already a print subscriber? Claim online access
      Already an online subscriber? Sign in
      Institutional Access: Sign in to ScienceDirect

      References

        • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
        ASHP statement on the roles of pharmacy technicians.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2016; 73: 928-930
        • American Pharmacists Association
        Pharmacy technician education, training, and development.
        House of Delegates, San Francisco, CA2017: 5-6
        • American Society of Health-System Pharmacists
        Pharmacy practice model summit: executive summary.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011; 68: 1079-1085
        • Pharmacy Technician Certification Board
        PTCB to implement changes in continuing education requirements in 2015.
        PTCB, Washington, DC2014 (Available at:) (Accessed May 15, 2017)
        • Humphrey L.
        PTCB suspends implementation of accredited education requirement originally planned for 2020.
        PTCB, Washington, DC2017 (Available at:) (Accessed May 15, 2017)
        • Schafheutle E.I.
        • Jee S.D.
        • Willis S.C.
        Fitness for purpose of pharmacy technician education and training: the case of Great Britain.
        Res Social Adm Pharm. 2017; 13: 88-97
        • Bailey J.E.
        • Surbhi S.
        • Bell P.C.
        • Jones A.M.
        • Rashed S.
        • Ugwueke M.O.
        Safemed: using pharmacy technicians in a novel role as community health workers to improve transitions of care.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016; 56: 73-81
        • Evans J.L.
        • Gladd E.M.
        • Gonzalez A.C.
        • et al.
        Establishing a clinical pharmacy technician at a United States Army military treatment facility.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016; 56: 573-579.e1
        • Gilbert E.M.
        • Gerzenshtein L.
        Integration of outpatient infectious diseases clinic pharmacy services and specialty pharmacy services for patients with HIV infection.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2016; 73: 757-763
        • Justis L.
        • Crain J.
        • Marchetti M.L.
        • Hohmeier K.C.
        The effect of community pharmacy technicians on industry standard adherence performance measures after cognitive pharmaceutical services training.
        J Pharm Technol. 2016; 32: 230-233
        • Shireman T.I.
        • Svarstad B.L.
        Cost-effectiveness of Wisconsin TEAM model for improving adherence and hypertension control in black patients.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2016; 56: 389-396
        • Houle S.K.D.
        • Rosenthal M.M.
        • Tsuyuki R.T.
        A case study in mobilizing all pharmacy team members in the community setting: a clinical facilitation role for pharmacy technicians.
        Can Pharm J. 2014; 147: 85-88
        • Svarstad B.L.
        • Kotchen J.M.
        • Shireman T.I.
        • et al.
        Improving refill adherence and hypertension control in black patients: Wisconsin TEAM trial.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2014; 53: 520-529
        • Reed M.
        • Thomley S.
        • Ludwig B.
        • Rough S.
        Experience with a “tech-check-tech” program in an academic medical center.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2011; 68: 1820-1823
        • Pattin A.J.
        • Powers M.F.
        • Lengel A.J.
        Training community pharmacy technicians about their roles in the provision of medication therapy management services.
        J Pharm Technol. 2011; 27: 9-14
        • McKee J.
        • Zimmerman M.
        Tech-check-tech pilot in a regional public psychiatric inpatient facility.
        Hosp Pharm. 2011; 46: 501-511
        • Friesner D.L.
        • Scott D.M.
        Identifying characteristics that allow pharmacy technicians to assume unconventional roles in the pharmacy.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2010; 50: 686-697
        • van den Bemt P.M.
        • van den Broek S.
        • van Nunen A.K.
        • Harbers J.B.
        • Lenderink A.W.
        Medication reconciliation performed by pharmacy technicians at the time of preoperative screening.
        Ann Pharmacother. 2009; 43: 868-874
        • Mark S.M.
        • Saenz R.
        • Yourich B.E.
        • Weber R.J.
        Innovative roles for pharmacy technicians: developing and implementing a unit-based clinical support pharmacy technician model.
        Hosp Pharm. 2008; 43: 920-927
        • Scott D.M.
        • Halvorson D.
        Assessment of pharmacy technicians' salary, benefits, and responsibilities in North Dakota.
        J Pharm Technol. 2007; 23: 148-157
        • Read H.
        • Ladds S.
        • Rhodes B.
        • Brown D.
        • Portlock J.
        The impact of a supplementary medication review and counselling service within the oncology outpatient setting.
        Br J Cancer. 2007; 96: 744-751
        • Rose D.
        • Evans S.W.
        • Williams R.
        Introducing a technician discharge prescription transcribing service.
        Hosp Pharm. 2005; 12: 233-236
        • Hilaire M.L.
        • Powers M.F.
        • Kit M.J.
        Training pharmacy technicians in community pharmacy about technical aspects of blood glucose meters.
        J Pharm Technol. 2004; 20: 178-182
        • Zillich A.J.
        • Aquilino M.L.
        • Farris K.B.
        Knowledge and attitudes about smoking cessation among pharmacy technicians.
        J Am Pharm Assoc. 2004; 44: 578-582
        • Burnett D.
        • Dooley M.J.
        • Wall D.
        Cell-based therapies—a role for pharmacy technicians.
        J Pharm Pract Res. 2003; 33: 296-298
        • Hobson J.
        Make a technician an active part of the team.
        Hosp Pharm. 2003; 10: 283-285
        • Ambrose P.J.
        • Saya F.G.
        • Lovett L.T.
        • Tan S.
        • Adams D.W.
        • Shane R.
        Evaluating the accuracy of technicians and pharmacists in checking unit dose medication cassettes.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 2002; 59: 1183-1188
        • Leversha A.
        • Ahlgren K.L.
        • Gray M.J.
        Ward pharmacy technicians assist clinical pharmacists with admissions.
        Aust J Hosp Pharm. 2001; 31: 130-132
        • Koch K.E.
        • Weeks A.
        Clinically oriented pharmacy technicians to augment clinical services.
        Am J Health Syst Pharm. 1998; 55: 1375-1381
        • Ness J.E.
        • Sullivan S.D.
        • Stergachis A.
        Accuracy of technicians and pharmacists in identifying dispensing errors.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1994; 51: 354-357
        • Raehl C.L.
        • Pitterle M.E.
        • Bond C.A.
        Legal status and functions of hospital-based pharmacy technicians and their relationship to clinical pharmacy services.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1992; 49: 2179-2187
        • Spooner S.H.
        • Britton M.E.
        • Erskine L.M.
        • Verschoor B.A.
        • Williams P.A.
        Improving job satisfaction and enlarging the role of technicians.
        J Pharm Technol. 1991; 7: 93-99
        • Phillips C.S.
        • Ryan M.R.
        • Roberts K.B.
        Current and future delegation of pharmacy activities to technicians in Tennessee.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1988; 45: 577-583
        • Fillmore A.D.
        • Schneider P.J.
        • Bourret J.A.
        • Caswell R.J.
        Cost of training drug-administration technicians.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1986; 43: 1706-1709
        • Mahoney C.D.
        • Gallina J.N.
        • Jeffrey L.P.
        A comprehensive program to increase job satisfaction among pharmacy technicians.
        Hosp Pharm. 1982; 17: 547-550
        • Hoffman R.P.
        Current status of hospital pharmacy technicians in Michigan.
        Hosp Pharm. 1982; 17: 78-80
        • Jeffrey L.P.
        • Mahoney C.D.
        Training, utilization and motivation of pharmacy technicians—a five-year analysis.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1975; 32: 491-494
        • Miller D.E.
        • Kendall R.W.
        • Hynniman C.E.
        • Butler J.L.
        • Parker P.F.
        Supportive personnel in pharmacy programs at the University of Kentucky Hospital: part II A career as a pharmacy technician.
        Am J Hosp Pharm. 1972; 29: 570-574
        • National Association of Boards of Pharmacy
        Survey of Pharmacy Law.
        2015 (Available at:) (Accessed May 15, 2017)
        • Academy Quality Management Committee and Scope of Practice Subcommittee of Quality Management Committee
        Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: scope of practice for the dietetic technician, registered.
        J Acad Nutr Diet. 2013; 113: S46-S55
        • American Dental Association
        Dental hygienist education and training requirements.
        (Available at:) (Accessed May 15, 2017)
        • American Dental Hygienists' Association
        Dental hygiene: focus on advancing the profession.
        ADHA, Chicago, IL2005 (Available at:) (Accessed Sept 15, 2017)

      Biography

      Ashlee N. Mattingly, PharmD, BCPS, Pharmacist and PharmTechX Coordinator, School of Pharmacy, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD

      Biography

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