Duties of A Pharmacy Technician
What Will My Duties Be As a Pharmacy Technician?
As a pharmacy technician, your duties will vary depending on your work setting and state regulations. However, some common duties include:
Assisting the Pharmacist
You will work alongside the pharmacist to help ensure that patients receive the correct medication and dosage. This may involve filling prescriptions, counting tablets, and labeling medication bottles.
You will help manage the pharmacy’s inventory by ordering and receiving medications, as well as checking expiration dates and disposing of expired medications.
Communicating With Patients
You may answer questions from patients about their medications, including potential side effects and instructions for use.
Processing Insurance Claims
You will work with insurance companies to process claims and ensure that patients receive the appropriate coverage for their medications.
In some settings, you may be responsible for preparing custom medications, such as ointments or creams.
You will keep accurate records of medication orders, prescriptions, and patient information in accordance with state and federal regulations.
You may be responsible for maintaining and operating equipment used in the pharmacy, such as automated dispensing machines and pill counters.
Overall, your duties as a pharmacy technician will focus on supporting the pharmacist and ensuring that patients receive safe and effective medication therapy. As the healthcare industry continues to evolve, the role of pharmacy technicians may expand to include additional responsibilities and duties.
What is Involved in Pharmacy Technician Duties?
Managing inventory is a critical responsibility for pharmacy technicians, as it ensures that the pharmacy has an adequate supply of medications to meet the needs of patients while also minimizing waste and maintaining proper storage conditions. Here are some of the common duties involved in managing inventory as a pharmacy technician:
- Receiving shipments: Pharmacy technicians are responsible for receiving shipments of medications from suppliers and verifying that they match the order and are not damaged. This may involve checking the expiration dates and batch numbers to ensure that the medications are safe and effective.
- Stocking shelves: Pharmacy technicians must stock the shelves with medications in an organized and efficient manner. This involves keeping track of inventory levels and ensuring that medications are rotated to ensure that older medications are used before newer ones.
- Monitoring inventory levels: Pharmacy technicians must keep track of inventory levels and reorder medications when necessary. This involves using inventory management software or manual tracking methods to determine when medications are running low and need to be replenished.
- Managing returns and recalls: Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for managing returns of expired or damaged medications, as well as handling recalls of medications that have been found to be unsafe or ineffective. This involves communicating with suppliers and coordinating with the pharmacist to ensure that patients are not put at risk.
- Maintaining proper storage conditions: Pharmacy technicians must ensure that medications are stored in appropriate conditions to maintain their safety and effectiveness. This involves monitoring temperature and humidity levels, as well as keeping medications out of direct sunlight and away from moisture and other potential sources of contamination.
- Adhering to regulations: Pharmacy technicians must adhere to all federal and state regulations related to the storage and handling of medications. This includes keeping accurate records of inventory levels, ensuring that medications are properly labeled and stored, and reporting any discrepancies or issues to the pharmacist.
Overall, managing inventory is a critical responsibility for pharmacy technicians, as it ensures that patients have access to the medications they need while also minimizing waste and ensuring that medications are stored and handled in a safe and effective manner. It requires strong organizational skills, attention to detail, and a commitment to following regulations and procedures to ensure patient safety.
Communicating with Patients
This involves providing clear and accurate information about their medications and answering any questions or concerns they may have. Here are some of the common ways in which pharmacy technicians communicate with patients:
Providing medication instructions
Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for providing instructions to patients on how to take their medications. This involves explaining the dosage, frequency, and any special instructions for taking the medication, such as with food or at a certain time of day.
Patients may have questions or concerns about their medications, such as potential side effects or interactions with other medications they are taking. Pharmacy technicians must be able to answer these questions or refer patients to the pharmacist if necessary.
Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for counseling patients on over-the-counter medications, such as pain relievers or cold and flu remedies. This involves explaining the proper use and potential side effects of the medication, as well as answering any questions the patient may have.
Assisting with insurance
Pharmacy technicians may assist patients with insurance questions or concerns, such as helping them understand their coverage or coordinating with insurance companies to ensure that medications are covered.
Patients may have issues with their medications, such as side effects or difficulties obtaining a refill. Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for helping to resolve these issues or referring patients to the pharmacist if necessary.
Effective communication with patients is essential for ensuring that they have the information and support they need to manage their medications effectively. It requires good listening skills, empathy, and the ability to explain complex information in a clear and concise manner. Pharmacy technicians must also be able to adapt their communication style to different patients, taking into account factors such as age, cultural background, and level of health literacy.
In addition to communicating with patients directly, pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for maintaining patient records and communicating with other healthcare providers, such as doctors or nurses. This involves ensuring that patient information is accurate and up-to-date, and communicating any changes or concerns to the appropriate parties.
Overall, effective communication with patients is a critical component of the pharmacy technician’s role. It helps to ensure that patients receive the care and support they need to manage their medications effectively, and can have a positive impact on patient outcomes and satisfaction.
Processing Insurance Claims
Processing insurance claims is an important duty of a pharmacy technician in a retail or hospital pharmacy setting. Pharmacy technicians play a crucial role in ensuring that patients can access their medications through their insurance plans.
Verifying patient insurance coverage: One of the key tasks of a pharmacy technician in processing insurance claims is verifying patient insurance coverage. This involves collecting patient information, such as their insurance card and identifying information, and entering it into the pharmacy’s system. The pharmacy technician must then check the patient’s insurance coverage to ensure that the medication is covered by their plan and that any co-pay or other payment requirements are met.
Correctly enter prescription into the pharmacy’s system: Once insurance coverage is verified, the pharmacy technician must ensure that the prescription is correctly entered into the pharmacy’s system. This includes checking for accuracy in the medication type, strength, dosage form, and quantity. The pharmacy technician must also ensure that the prescription is legally valid, has not expired, and has been authorized by the prescriber.
Submit the claim to the patient’s insurance provider: The pharmacy technician must then submit the claim to the patient’s insurance provider. This involves entering the prescription information, patient information, and insurance information into a claims processing system. The pharmacy technician must also enter any required billing codes, such as National Drug Codes (NDCs), and ensure that the correct prices are used.
Liaising with patient and insurance provider: If the insurance claim is rejected, the pharmacy technician must work with the patient and insurance provider to identify the reason for the rejection and address any issues. This may involve contacting the prescriber to clarify the medication order or working with the insurance provider to resolve coverage issues.
In addition to processing insurance claims, pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for managing insurance claim records. This involves maintaining accurate and up-to-date records of all insurance claims submitted, including any rejections, denials, or appeals. Pharmacy technicians must also maintain patient confidentiality and ensure that all records are kept secure and confidential.
Compounding medications is an important task that pharmacy technicians may be responsible for in certain pharmacy settings. Compounding refers to the process of creating a medication by mixing different ingredients, adjusting dosages or routes of administration, or altering the form of the medication (such as turning a pill into a liquid form).
In some cases, a patient may require a medication that is not commercially available, or they may need a medication that is not available in the appropriate strength or form. In these situations, the pharmacist may work with the pharmacy technician to compound a medication specifically tailored to the patient’s needs.
The process of compounding medications requires attention to detail and adherence to strict guidelines to ensure that the medication is safe and effective. Pharmacy technicians may be responsible for:
Preparing the ingredients
Ensuring that the final product meets the necessary quality standards.
There are several different types of compounding that pharmacy technicians may be involved in, including sterile and non-sterile compounding:
Sterile compounding: this involves preparing medications that are injected or infused into the body, such as intravenous (IV) medications. This type of compounding requires a sterile environment and special equipment to prevent contamination.
Non-sterile compounding: this involves preparing medications that are administered through other routes, such as oral or topical medications. This type of compounding may involve mixing medications together or creating a medication from scratch using raw ingredients.
In addition to preparing the medication, pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for labeling and packaging the medication and ensuring that it is stored properly. They may also be responsible for keeping accurate records of the compounding process and ensuring that the pharmacy is in compliance with all regulatory requirements.
Pharmacy technicians are responsible for creating, updating, and maintaining patient records, prescription records, and medication inventory records.
- Accurately enter and maintain patient information: One of the primary responsibilities of a pharmacy technician is to accurately enter and maintain patient information in the pharmacy’s computer system. This information includes patient names, addresses, medical history, and any medication allergies or interactions that could affect their treatment. Pharmacy technicians also enter prescription information into the system, such as medication dosage, frequency, and instructions for use.
- Keep detailed records of medication inventory, including tracking medication orders, restocking shelves, and monitoring expiration dates. It is essential to ensure that the pharmacy has the correct medications in stock and that they are not expired, which could be dangerous to patients.
- Keep track of the medications that are being dispensed to patients: Pharmacy technicians must ensure that the correct medication is being dispensed in the appropriate dose and that patients are provided with the necessary instructions for use. They must also document any interactions with patients or physicians related to the medication, including side effects or changes in dosage.
- Maintaining confidential and accurate records of controlled substances: Additionally, pharmacy technicians are responsible for maintaining confidential and accurate records of controlled substances, including tracking inventory and dispensing these medications according to state and federal regulations. They must also maintain accurate records of any controlled substances that are disposed of or returned to the manufacturer.
- Organizing and maintaining the pharmacy’s filing system: this includes filing prescriptions, patient information, and other documentation in an organized and easy-to-access manner. They must ensure that all documents are filed correctly and that they can be quickly retrieved when needed.
This duty involves ensuring that all equipment in the pharmacy is in good working condition, properly maintained, and available for use when needed. The equipment used in a pharmacy can include automated dispensing machines, pill counters, IV pumps, refrigerators, and other specialized devices used to prepare, dispense, and store medications.
The duties involved in managing equipment as a pharmacy technician can include:
- Maintenance: Pharmacy technicians are responsible for ensuring that all equipment is properly maintained, cleaned, and calibrated. This may involve performing routine maintenance checks, scheduling repairs, and working with vendors to obtain replacement parts when necessary.
- Testing: Before using any equipment, pharmacy technicians must ensure that it is functioning properly. This may involve running test cycles on automated dispensing machines or checking the accuracy of pill counters.
- Troubleshooting: If equipment malfunctions, pharmacy technicians must be able to quickly diagnose and fix the problem. This may involve adjusting settings, recalibrating equipment, or calling in a repair technician.
- Inventory: Pharmacy technicians must keep track of all equipment in the pharmacy and ensure that there are adequate supplies on hand. This may involve ordering replacement parts, restocking supplies, and maintaining an inventory of all equipment.
- Safety: Pharmacy technicians must ensure that all equipment is used safely and in accordance with manufacturer guidelines. This may involve training other staff members on how to use equipment safely, posting warning signs, or implementing other safety measures.
- Upgrades and Replacements: Pharmacy technicians are responsible for staying up-to-date on new equipment and technologies that may improve the efficiency and accuracy of medication dispensing. This may involve researching new equipment, working with vendors to evaluate equipment, and making recommendations to pharmacy management about upgrades or replacements.
In addition to the above duties, pharmacy technicians may also be responsible for monitoring the temperature and humidity of storage areas, preparing and dispensing medications, and answering questions from patients and healthcare professionals.