PTCB grants help pharmacy associations with tech leadership training, opioid education

Sandra Levy
Senior Editor
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The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board has awarded grants to the Mississippi Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Ohio Pharmacists Association, Oregon State Pharmacy Association, and Pharmacy Society of Wisconsin to fund various projects promoting technician advancement, opioid use education, and career ladder development.

The MSHP grant will fund a partnership with Baptist Memorial Hospital-North Mississippi for a pilot project creating the advanced role of Medication Access Service Technician in the hospital's pharmacy to support patients preparing to be discharged. The technician's role will include investigating patient insurance benefits, patient assistance programs, and manufacturer patient support systems to ensure discharged patients have financial access to their medications.

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The OPA grant will fund online continuing education sessions for pharmacy technicians from all practice settings. One program will provide leadership training for technicians across the country focused on delegation skills, patient communication, and collaboration with patient care teams. Another program will create an online course for Ohio technicians in how to effectively interact with Ohio's Automated Rx Reporting System software to prevent overuse and abuse of opioids and other controlled substances.

Through a collaboration with the Oregon State University College of Pharmacy, OSPA's grant will develop an online technician education program on opioid use disorder, or OUD and harm reduction to decrease stigma towards patients with OUD. It will cover the opioid epidemic, how COVID-19 increases vulnerability of individuals with OUD, the role of syringe access in improving public health, and communication strategies for serving individuals with OUD in community pharmacies.

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PTCB has already funded state association programs to increase technician engagement in naloxone distribution and use of prescription drug monitoring programs, and OSPA's project complements these PTCB-supported efforts.

The PSW project will increase knowledge of pharmacy technician career ladders in Wisconsin and nationwide to catalyze the continued expansion of advanced pharmacy technician roles that support better patient care. The program will enlist content experts, such as technicians in a variety of roles, pharmacy managers, and human resource specialists. These experts will record podcasts discussing technician career ladders as a way to accelerate peer-to-peer sharing of information on implementing such ladders in pharmacy settings.

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"We are proud to support these projects that will expand opportunities for pharmacy technicians and further PTCB's mission of advancing medication safety," said PTCB director of professional affairs Ryan Burke.

The grants, totaling $26,400, are the most recent set awarded by PTCB's Partnership Funds Program to support selected projects of the 72 state pharmacy associations that participate in PTCB's State Associate Program. A panel of expert pharmacy volunteers chose the recipients based on project impact on advancing medication safety and technician roles.

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