Pharmacists And Technicians Can Enhance Patient Care Even More Once National Policies Practices And Priorities Are Aligned
Author: Lucinda L. Maine, Katherine K. Knapp, Douglas J. Scheckelhoff
In the past thirty to forty years, new clinically oriented roles have emerged for pharmacists, commensurate with their training and consistent with national goals to improve the safety of, access to, and cost of health care. Pharmacists in all settings spend an increasing portion of their time filling these roles, as evidenced more recently in the community pharmacy sector by the success of pharmacy-based immunization programs and such new venues as retail pharmacy clinics. Pharmacy technicians are also assuming new roles and responsibilities, providing services previously delivered only by pharmacists. However, both trends are hindered by current policy. Of particular concern are inconsistent state-level scope-of-practice laws, the lack of mechanisms to reimburse pharmacists for services provided, the need to recognize pharmacists as health care providers, and the need to establish national standards for the preparation of pharmacy technicians. The optimal deployment of the pharmacy workforce will require the closer alignment of pharmacy practice and policy with each other and with the nation’s health care priorities.