Students graduating from pharmacy tech colleges have a lot to look forward to. As the health care industry continues to evolve at a rapid pace, parts of the pharmacy tech landscape are changing with it.
To stay up to date on the latest trends within the profession, check out five big changes that might affect your career down the road, according to PharmacyTimes.com1:
1. Prescription filling reimbursement
Health care services are being reexamined to include outcomes achieved or bundled payments. If drug dispensing is paid for according to outcomes achieved instead of processes performed, there will be a noticeable shift in a pharmacist’s bill.¹ The Five Star Quality Rating System, implemented by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has already created some of these changes. It will soon become a requirement to monitor drugs’ effects, making college pharmacy technicians more valuable employees to the patient betterment process as a whole.
2. Health-system consolidation
Hospitals are becoming bigger than ever, absorbing more facilities and practices to become a larger health care system.1 Some pharmacy techs have been transferred over to a hospital setting. While the layout and location can vary among hospitals, this new form of the position puts pharmacy techs in constant contact with nurses and physicians. Although they might not work directly with the patients, it is common for them to serve on a team with other health care providers to boost the patient’s therapy.
3. Growing role of pharmacy techs
Pharmacy techs (PTs) are becoming more important than ever as their responsibilities reach new heights.1 The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) said that after 2018 only pharmacy technicians who have completed an accredited technician training program will be eligible to take the examination. In the upcoming years, PTs may expand their role to perform such tasks as refilling prescription independently. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, the employment of pharmacy technicians is expected to grow 20 percent through 2022, a greater growth rate than nearly all other occupations.2
4. More neighborhood centers
Another trend is the transition from community pharmacies to neighborhood health centers.1 This allows for more point-of-care testing, in which medical care is brought conveniently to the patient. As a result, pharmacy techs and their teams will be able to improve quality and cost of care in a more clinical setting.
5. Jump in biosimilars
After the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Affordable Care Act) created an a shorter licensure pathway for biological products that are demonstrated to be biosimilar or interchangeable with a biological product licensed by the Food and Drug Administration, the presence of generic drugs has spiked. Generic drugs are beneficial to health care because they lower drug costs and make reimbursement for filling prescriptions higher. 1,3
1Eckel, F. (2014, December 8). 10 Things That Could Change Pharmacy Practice. Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://www.pharmacytimes.com/publications/issue/2014/December2014/10-Things-That-Could-Change-Pharmacy-Practice
2Pharmacy Technicians. (n.d.). Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://www.bls.gov/ooh/healthcare/pharmacy-technicians.htm
3U.S. Food and Drug Administration. (2014, September 9). Retrieved December 22, 2014, from http://www.fda.gov/drugs/developmentapprovalprocess/howdrugsaredeveloped