Pharmacy technicians can play an important role in leadership at the pharmacy.
The concept of elevating technicians to take on expanded roles in the community pharmacy practice setting is not a new one. Successful pharmacy owners across the country have proven that practice transformation requires optimizing your team members to their fullest potential.
But what does that really mean? And, how can you do it effectively? Let’s turn to a CPESN pharmacy that has had success in developing its technicians into advanced roles and see how they did it.
Tiffany Capps, CPhT, operations manager at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy, is an example of how technicians in leadership roles can support the entire pharmacy team to function more efficiently. Her role as Operations Manager has been integral in helping the pharmacy implement enhanced services by streamlining the workflow and encouraging team members to take ownership of their role in patient care.
Capps joined Galloway-Sands Pharmacy in 2014 as they opened their second location in southeastern North Carolina. She recalls billing her first claim and watching the reimbursement amount populate on the screen, “At that moment I knew this job was going to be much more than counting pills. I was shocked to actually see the numbers and realized the immense responsibility that came with it. I was immediately invested.”
Determined to understand the business of pharmacy, Capps' role quickly evolved. In her position she is responsible for the implementation of services and ensuring the pharmacy runs at full potential. She believes this is possible by promoting a positive environment where the entire team is encouraged to take initiative. “Empowering the non-pharmacist staff to participate benefits everyone—the technician, the pharmacy practice, and most importantly the patients we serve,” said Capps.
Perhaps this is best showcased in their technician-led medication synchronization (Med Sync) program. Knowing Med Sync was key to gaining control of their workflow, Capps brought in the technicians. She explained, “Our first step was changing our mindset. Once everyone understood the importance of this service, the rest was all about collaboration.”
With a team of technicians ready to make things happen, she reviewed best practices from other pharmacies and refined the process into one that fit for their workflow. Their Med Sync program has grown to over 70% of their active patient volume enrolled.
With the newfound efficiencies that Med Sync provided, the team quickly looked to integrate the next service. With a goal of improving patient adherence, Galloway-Sands Pharmacy invested in automated adherence packaging from RxSafe. Collectively, the team decided on the RapidPakRx machine due to its size and universal cartridges. “Our pharmacy space is limited,” said Capps. “We reap all the benefits that automated packaging offers using this small but mighty system—and it fits!” She added, “The cartridges go great in our workflow because they are non-NDC specific. Meaning we can load each job seamlessly by using whichever NDC we have on hand or in the event that a prescription is NDC specific."
The adherence packaging organizes patients’ medications into individual pouches based on the day and time. Med Sync coupled with adherence packaging improved patient adherence by 7% proportion of days covered (PDC) in the first year.
Capps noticed patient encounters becoming more impactful, “As we began asking patients the questions necessary to reconcile their medications, we started to discover inconsistencies and gaps in therapy.” These conversations most often occur between technicians and patients on the Med Sync check-in calls. Because of the enhanced level of conversation, Capps reinforces the importance of investing in your staff by providing proper training and education necessary to take on additional responsibilities.
Ashley Walawender, CPhT, a pharmacy technician at Galloway-Sands explained, “As a career pharmacy technician, it’s refreshing to have a system behind me that gives the support and resources to grow. This team encouraged me to find my passion in pharmacy, specifically in MTM services.”
The benefits of empowering the staff at Galloway-Sands Pharmacy have been undeniable. “It’s more than just programs and services,” Capps pointed out. “We’ve seen real improvement in patient outcomes and increased referrals from other health care providers in our area.”
In addition to her work at Galloway-Sands, Capps is also a strong advocate for pharmacy technicians across the country. She encourages pharmacy owners to allow their technicians and other non-pharmacist support staffers to participate in the best practices sharing that occurs in the Flip the Pharmacy PS3 program.
The Flip the Pharmacy program aims to transform community pharmacies away from point-in-time prescription-level care to longitudinal patient-level care. Pharmacy Services Support Staff (or PS3) uses educational tools and social learning communities to help elevate the role of non-pharmacist support staff allowing them to help expand pharmacy services and improve patient care.
Flip the Pharmacy resources include weekly webinars focused on best practice sharing. Capps encourages technicians to register for two Workflow Wednesday webinars specifically PS3 and Max My Sync. “These webinars are created for technicians and support staff by technicians who are doing the work in their pharmacies each day,” she said. “If you are a pharmacist who is ready to elevate your technicians into expanded roles, this is an excellent place to start.”
RxSafe is a proud sponsor for multiple Flip the Pharmacy teams. Additional funding for Flip the Pharmacy is made by the Community Pharmacy Foundation, along with national and local team sponsors.
The Flip the Pharmacy program has over 1,400 community pharmacies actively engaged in practice transformation, which are supported by over 541 pharmacy coaches from 74 local Flip the Pharmacy teams and 14 Technology Solutions Partners. To learn more, please visit www.flipthepharmacy.com and access the publicly available resources.