The Independent Pharmacy Advantage and Patient Medication Adherence

How often do you conduct counseling sessions with your patients regarding their medications?
Chances are pharmacists at national chains don’t have much time to talk with their patients in person or know them by name. If a patient hasn’t spoken one-on-one with their pharmacist regarding their medication, they’re more likely to discontinue its use because they are unaware of how it may improve their condition.

Depending on the condition at hand, this could be a possible hazard to their health, and affect them negatively in the long run. This is what medication adherence is all about– patients refilling their prescriptions repeatedly in order to improve their health and well-being.

If you are a pharmacist at an independent pharmacy, you probably know the faces of many of your patients and have spoken with them on a personal level and chances are, you are the owner of the pharmacy in which you work.
If a patient knows their pharmacist personally, they are more likely to want to speak to them and have them address questions regarding their medications. As a result, your patient will more than likely keep refilling their prescription, and that will provide both medication adherence and better business for the pharmacy itself.

According to a recent study by Walgreens involving patients with high cholesterol, having at least two face-to-face pharmacist to patient counseling sessions will not only help to improve medication adherence, but will also improve patients’ health and may help avoid unnecessary hospital visits and health care costs. The study also addressed what factors may contribute to non-adherence when it comes to medications- which include perception of the value of therapy, fear of side effects, and difficulty in establishing a routine when taking the medication.

Face-to-face counseling sessions with your patients will help address all of these issues, as well as make them feel more comfortable taking the medication. Getting to know your patients on a personal level will also make them feel more comfortable and keep them coming back to your pharmacy every time.

PharmacyGPO Attends 2012 Texas Pharmacy Assocation Conference & Expo

PharmacyGPO, the nation’s first pharmacy buying group that generates new business for its members, attended the 2012 Texas Pharmacy Association Conference and Expo last week.

The conference, which was held in The Woodlands, Texas from July 26-28, featured many CE sessions including the “New Drug Update 2012” as well as “Pharmacist: The Most Transformative Force in Healthcare or the Demise of a Profession.” Both being highly beneficial, the first program updated listeners on new and recently approved drugs and the benefits of their use, while the other stressed the importance of being a health care provider, i.e. a pharmacist. These sessions were presented by professionals in the industry and were geared toward a diverse crowd– including pharmacists, students, technicians, and other professionals.

Attendees representing PharmacyGPO found the Expo to be a huge success for the company. During both days, PharmacyGPO’s booth was encompassed with heavy traffic as many attendees and exhibitors were intrigued by the unique model that the buying group offers.

Kelsey Ripper, Operations Coordinator at PharmacyGPO, found the Conference to be positive all around.

“PharmacyGPO’s presence at the Rxperts Conference and Expo seemed to make an impact on all that attended,” she said. “We are excited to spread the word on this new model buying group that will do more for their customers than any buying group has done in the past for a pharmacy.”

PharmacyGPO stressed the importance of leveraging the wholesaler relationship and getting more out of a buying group to pharmacy owners and pharmacy students alike. Upon graduation, they hope that students will be able to start their own independent pharmacies and utilize PharmacyGPO’s unique buying group offering to optimize their businesses.

PharmacyGPO looks forward to following up with new contacts from the conference and growing more independent pharmacies in the near future.

Pharmacy Bio-Technology: Ingestible Medication Sensor

Imagine if it was possible for you to monitor if your patients were taking their medications exactly as prescribed.

Recently, the FDA approved a tiny, ingestible sensor that can be integrated into drugs to monitor medication adherence. The sensor, which is manufactured by Proteus Digital Health, is activated by making contact with stomach acid and transmitting a signal to a patch that is worn on the skin. This allows pharmacists and physicians alike to monitor if a patient is taking a medication as it has been prescribed. This patch also has the ability to collect data such as heart rate, body position, and activity.

It may seem a bit far-fetched, but with today’s technology, nothing is surprising. New ways to monitor medication adherence are constantly being introduced. This device is a major milestone for the industry and may become the new standard for influencing medication adherence in the near future.

Mobile Technologies will increase productivity in Pharmacy Business

Do you own an iPad or a Tablet? If so, have you ever considered implementing it in your pharmacy?

A recent article shows that using these types of devices in your business can and will increase your overall productivity. Many business-related apps can make processes easier and help enhance workflow. Implementing apps for both marketing and administrative purposes will help all operations in your business run much more smoothly, which will help take a load off of you and your staff.

The most essential marketing apps that can bring business to your pharmacy and increase profits are social-media oriented. Making use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter can instantly alert a mass audience about your latest sales or events that you have going on in your pharmacy.

Another useful tool in marketing is videoconferencing. Apps such as FaceTime or Skype can make things a lot easier when it comes to marketing and communicating with other healthcare providers and other professionals in the field.

JigSaw Meeting technologies is a online meeting platform that is secure and HIPAA compliant. Jigsaw Meeting is a revolutionary online meeting system that provides a secure and easy way to meet virtually. It is designed to provide real-time interaction between meeting participants. And, it allows people to learn in an environment that meets their unique learning style.

Other apps recommended for marketing purposes include Evernote, Keynote, and Pages. These apps allow you to draft up marketing materials while on the road or out of the office.

Apps that are recommended for administrative purposes include Calendar, a digital calendar that enables reminders to be set for events, Good Reader, which allows you to read PDF files from your device, Password Manager Pro, which can store user names and passwords for all accounts, and Square, which acts as a credit card reader.

All of these apps should be considered when it comes to implementing your wireless devices into your pharmacy. You will find that your business will run much smoother and more profits will be brought in as a result.

How To Become A Pharmacy Technician

Pharmacy Technicians have never been in higher demand. The number of individuals who need health care assistance has steadily increased in the last decade. Demographic Analysis predicts this number will continue to grow; as a result the number of pharmacy technician schools in the United States has increased to accommodate the publics need. Are you interested in the medical field? Would you like to work in an exciting and rewarding workplace? Perhaps a pharmacy technician career is right for you.
About Pharmacy Technicians
Pharmacy technicians and pharmacy aids help pharmacists prepare prescription medications, complete several administrative duties, and provide customer service. Some pharmacy technician responsibilities include, counting pills, correctly labeling bottles, and receiving prescription requests.
In larger pharmacies, pharmacy aids generally preform the majority of administrative tasks, including stocking the shelves, operating cash registers and answering phones.
In retail or mail order pharmacies, technicians receive written prescription requests from patients. Prescriptions may also be sent electronically from doctors’ offices or prescriptions can even be processed over the phone in some States. It is up to the technician to make sure the prescription is completely accurate. After the prescription is received, the technician prepares the prescription by counting, pouring, weighing, measuring and sometimes even mixing the medication. Technicians then fill and label the appropriate container. After the prescription is filled, technicians file the prescription and mark it with the correct price. Every prescription must be checked by a licensed pharmacist before sold to the customer. Technicians can also be responsible for patient profiles, as well as preparing and organizing insurance claim forms. Technicians are required to refer all patient questions regarding drug information or health matters to a licensed pharmacist. In assisted living facilities and hospitals technicians often have additional responsibilities such as preparing sterile solutions and delivering medications to other medical personnel. Technicians may also record administered medication onto patient profiles.

Pharmacy technicians generally work in clean, bright, organized and well ventilated areas. They usually spend long hours on their feet during an average work day. They also may have to lift heavy boxes or use stepladders to reach high shelves on a regular basis. Pharmacy technicians may also have uncommon work schedules including nights, weekends, and holidays.

There are no national training standards for pharmacy technicians; instead requirements vary from State to State. However, all employers favor applicants with previous experience, certification or school training. Most States do require a high school diploma or the equivalent. Even though most pharmacy technicians receive some informal on-the-job training, employers always favor candidates who have completed training or certification. The informal on-the-job training usually lasts three months to a year.

E-prescribing E-Refills increases medication adherence and lowers costs

If you were a physician, prescribing medications electronically would seem easier and more convenient, right?

From a pharmacist’s standpoint, wouldn’t this also be more convenient for you?

According to a recent study by Surescripts, e-prescribing is not only a more convenient way to handle prescriptions, but it may also help increase medication adherence by your patients. In 2011, e-prescribing contributed to a 10 percent increase in patient first-fill medication adherence, according to the study.

According to the study, the number of physicians and clinicians using e-presciptions increased by 67 percent in 2011, and the amount of prescriptions refilled by pharmacists electronically increased by 75 percent. These figures show that the use of technology within pharmacies is increasing rapidly. E-prescribing could also help lower healthcare costs, which will keep many patients satisfied.

Why is medication adherence essential? If your patients wish to keep refilling their prescriptions through your pharmacy, it will bring you more business and result in satisfaction for both you and the patient in the end. Continued satisfaction is essential for your business– especially if you operate a small, independent pharmacy.

Another way that aids the patient in returning to your pharmacy is an electronic prescription refill reminder service. Several companies such as Mevesi, ClientTell, and OnTime Rx offer electronic prescription refill reminder services or software that assists patients in refilling their prescriptions on time.

Unfortunately, some barriers still remain when it comes to e-prescriptions, as nine states do not permit physicians to prescribe controlled substances electronically, according to Surescripts. In addition, although the FDA lifted a ban on the e-prescription of controlled substances in 2010, its complicated requirements cause most physicians to use paper scripts for controlled substances.

If we could keep finding ways to increase the use of e-prescriptions & e-Refill reminders, it could be a huge help to the pharmacy industry– especially independents.

Pharmacy Technician Training

Attending a good school with a great pharmacy technician training program will help you get started on your way to building a good, long and prosperous career in the pharmacy sector. The first place where you should get started would be your local community college. This will get you acquainted with the basics of starting your career in the pharmacy line and get you started on your track towards the pharmacy career track. This is necessary as this education will make you eligible for the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board accredited pharmacy technician certification examination.

The examination will open up many further possibilities in front of you, so you must prepare properly for the examination and you should start it as early as possible and it is for this reason that you should start preparing from your local community school. The school curriculum will cover the basics of what you will require like the fundamentals of medical terminology, various word problem solving for enhancing your quick indexing capabilities which is very important for a pharmacy technician, different drug interaction and its effects on the human user and fundamentals of pronouncing the drug names right. Take these simple courses as your pharmacy technician training and you will get well on your way to the professional world of the pharmacy technician.

The next step in your pharmacy technician training would be the basic knowledge of the chemical combinations of the different drugs that are manufactured and used on a daily basis. It is important because as the pharmacy technician you will be expected to know the different combinations of the chemicals in the drugs that the customer is buying and warn him or her of any kind of side effect that he or she might be facing if the drugs are used together. This will help you get pay raises from your employer and will let you get a better scope of work.

After you have completed these steps in your college as part of your pharmacy technician training you will become eligible to apply for the actual pharmacy technician program. This is the most important phase as this will require a lot of paperwork, background checks, transcripts and medical checkups to ensure that you are physically and mentally prepared for accepting the training which will develop you into a proper pharmacy technician and get you on the right path to chase down your career. The requirement is a little steep and that is why the preparation stage during the college years and depending on the college and the curriculum you are following you might have to do some extra courses which will strengthen your human interaction skills.

The task of a pharmacy technician is to help the pharmacist is to label the medications in a organized way and get the medications sorted according to the labels and entering information about the prescriptions into the database so as to maintain a proper record and help the pharmacist complete his or her duty more effectively. So, to enhance your work performance, you will have to take some keyboarding lessons and some computer operating practices, although it may or may not be a required course in your pharmacy technician training course.

The task of a pharmacy technician cannot be undermined because the task of a pharmacist and the task of a pharmacy technician is almost the same behind the counter. The post of a pharmacy technician is a little less daunting than that of the pharmacist and hence the easier learning curves on the pharmacy technician training making it easier for individuals to apply for the position.

Pharmacy Technician Test

any states in the US still do not require pharmacy technicians to pass any pharmacy technician test in order to be allowed to practice. However, it is always good to have a certificate saying that you have passed the pharmacy technician test because it will provide a good understanding of the basic responsibilities. Moreover, having a certificate will increase the bargaining power of the employee, and he or she will get a higher salary than other non-certificate pharmacy technicians.

If you are thinking about sitting for a pharmacy technician test then you must do some research before joining any institute for training purposes. There are many organizations that offer training and education regarding this. However, it is very important that you choose an institute with a long history and is well respected within this industry so that you will be well prepared when you go for the test.

Now days more and more people are getting addicted to drugs and prescription pills. So, the role of a pharmacy technician can be abuse very easily. As a result, the integrity of a pharmacy technician must be very. This is why one must have a clean criminal record going back at least five years before he or she sits for pharmacy technician test. Moreover, if the applicant has any record of being convicted for a drug-related felony, his or her application will be rejected automatically. Also, a person under any form of restrictions imposed by the State Board of Pharmacy will be considered ineligible for this test.
If you are determined to become a certified pharmacy technician, then the next step is to know all about the tests. Two of the most renowned pharmacy technician test are the Pharmacy Technician certification Exam (PTCE) and the Examination for Certified Pharmacy Technicians (ExCPT). These two tests are accepted by almost all the organizations in the healthcare industry.

The PTCE is a computer based 90 questions multiple choice exam. This pharmacy technician test will focus on the major responsibilities of a pharmacy technician, including the responsibility to his or her employer and the clients, how they should maintain pharmacy inventory and the overall administrative duty. A person can take this exam as many times as he or she wants. However, each time he or she has to pay the test fee.

This test is an on-going process like many other healthcare professions. A certified pharmacy technician will have is required to complete a certain number of study hours in order to maintain the certificate. Ten is the minimum expected hours to be completed after every two years. At least, one hour of the expected hours must be dedicated to pharmacy laws of the respective state. This is not surprising at all as the medical laws in the US are much debated and therefore, change all the time. As a result, both the pharmacist and pharmacy technician must be aware of any changes in the law that might have an effect the way they execute their functions.

If you are a pharmacy technician and do not want to remain as a technician until you retire and intend to become a fully qualified pharmacist in the future, then sitting for a certificate is a very good decision. Most pharmacy schools will give preference to students who already have a certificate. Moreover, having a certificate is a definite way of getting a higher pay and sooner promotion. And the cost is significantly low if you compare all the benefits. So, whether you are an aspiring pharmacy technician or hoping to be a pharmacist in the near future, sitting for the pharmacy technician test is the best way.

Pharmacy Technician Schools

Pharmacy technician schools are institutes or programs that train, qualify and certify pharmacy technicians for their profession. A pharmacy technician is one kind of health worker who performs jobs in medical offices related to pharmacy such as reviewing prescription requests or insurance related documents, dispensing medication, instructing patients in the use of medical equipment, administrative work, etc. The medical offices they work in may be in hospitals, clinics, hospices, long term care facilities, doctor’s offices, pharmacy manufacturers, etc. Pharmacy technicians almost always work under the direct supervision of a licensed health professional (usually, but not always, a pharmacist).

Until the late 1990s, people in USA who wanted to become pharmacy technicians needed only a high school degree. However, the US federal government then appointed the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) to certify pharmacy technicians who had received proper training before they could begin working. This line of work is expected to have a very strong growth over the next decade with a projected 25 % increase in between 2010 and 2020. As a result more and more pharmacy technician schools are opening up as more and more universities offer pharmacy technician programs (including online courses). The top five schools in the US for training as pharmacy technicians are National College, Everest College, Virginia College, Kaplan College and Brown-Mackie College. The highest ranked online program is provided by the US Career Institute.

All pharmacy technician schools need to cover a number of subjects. These are pharmacology, chemistry, medical and pharmaceutical terminology, dosage calculations, drug reactions, pharmacy record keeping, interpreting prescriptions, pharmacy law, dosage forms, drug preparation and compounding of prescribed medications. Each of the above topics normally has separate courses dedicated to them. Pharmacy administration, pharmacy computing and medical billings are other courses which are optional to students. In addition to the classroom courses students must take part in clinical externships. These externships permit the students to use the theoretical knowledge they gained in classes to perform the duties of pharmacy technicians in a real world setting. They do so, however, under the supervision of a licensed pharmacist who evaluates them and submits a report of their performance to the classroom instructor. This report has a bearing on the overall grade. There is additional laboratory work that the students must undergo. Pharmacy technician schools also hold frequent seminars on matters such as pharmacy ethics, etc for the students to attend.

Getting a degree from pharmacy technician schools may take between 6 months and 2 years depending on the sort of degree being sought after. The shortest program is the pharmacy technician certificate program and takes 6 months. Only a high school diploma is needed in order to enroll in this and it arms the student with only the basic and rudimentary skill set needed in order to perform the functions of a pharmacy technician in retail or clinical jobs. This program does, however, prepare students to take certification exams. The next step is the pharmacy technician diploma which is a year-long and often has a prerequisite of students needing to have associate level medical degrees in order to enroll. This program builds on the background knowledge of the previous degree by infusing the student with supplementary, skill based education and prepares them for certification exams. The final step is the 24 month long pharmacy technician associate’s degree. This is the part that involves field work placements and externships and covers a broad range of skills in the medical field with emphasis on pharmacy training and preparation for certification exams.

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) offers the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE). While this is not a legal requirement in order to work as a pharmacy technician, it is difficult for any candidate who has not passed this exam to find work. Hence all pharmacy technician schools recommend their graduating students to sit for this exam.

Pharmacy Technician Salary

You would be surprised to know that the pharmacy technician salary is actually good compared to other middle class jobs. The pharmacist technicians are people who are expert in managing pharmacy except that they do not have the requirements to be a physician, otherwise if consider they could become the physicians. It is their responsibility to supply the medicines of the pharmacists to the patients by checking the prescriptions of the physicians and providing the proper medicines. There are pharmacy technician who can run a pharmacy shop on their own or there can be a group of pharmacist technicians running a larger pharmacy shop. Since they supply the medicines, so they can draw a handsome salary altogether.

Depending on the qualification and experience a pharmacy technician salary may vary. Also, they may have a tight job schedule since they have to keep the shop open for twenty four hours. However, most of the pharmacy technicians are not much qualified and have known, learnt and experienced about the job by working with a pharmacist and their salary is lower than the pharmacy technicians who have a certificate in the management of pharmacy. So, you see that the pharmacy technician salary actually varies depending on the educational qualification and job requirements. The work experience is a great factor in this regard.

The pharmacy technician salary for a new employee may range from $20000 – $25000 per year, whereas, for the experienced employee it may range from $35000 – $40000. This range varies because as much as you will gain knowledge and experience, the more benefits you will earn from selling the medicines which will bring you a partial salary benefit. If counted in an hourly basis, the results will come for the new technicians $8 – $10 per hour and for the experienced technicians $12 – $18 per hour. Therefore, you see how the salary ranges vary. To know more in details you can ask at the pharmacy shops if you are planning to build a career as a pharmacist technician.

Often, the pharmacy technician salary is less in the pharmacies that are small in size, established in a rural area, run by a single person etc. On the other hand, large pharmacies that are linked with hospitals, clinics and healthcare centers can earn a good sell and thus can give high salaries to their technicians. Sometimes, the pharmacist may decide how much salary they will pay to the pharmacy technicians. However, this job is a stable job as there is no option to go for a higher position, but there are also exceptional cases where the pharmacy technician might be given career development choices if they have good work experiences, educational qualifications and are also eager to go for higher education to become a pharmacist.

There is nothing to be disappointed, because if you try and if you have the remarkable qualifications and experiences, you might get into the position of a supervisor in a pharmacy. This might be possible when you become an expertise in handling the medicines of the pharmacy. Then, joining a big pharmacy you can get a salary of $50000 and higher per year. However, the pharmacy technician salary is not also much lower if you consider the job position. This profession has becoming very demanding for which the pharmacy technician salary may also increase rapidly in the upcoming years which will be a benefit for the people related with this profession. As this profession is going to become more popular in the future, so it is time that you decide whether or not the pharmacy technician salary is enough for you.