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New Pharmacy Program Engages Pharmacy Technicians in Patient Care

04/03/2014

With the goal of becoming more patient-oriented, the Department of Pharmacy has implemented a new program that successfully integrates pharmacy technicians into the patient care team. Through the Team Based Technician (TBT) initiative, pharmacy techs are proactively engaging patients on inpatient units and directly interacting with nurses regarding the delivery and storage of medication. The TBTs now make a significant impact that has already proven to guide medication-related decisions and course of treatment for Tufts MC and Floating Hospital for Children patients.

“The TBT program improves patient safety by enhancing the consistency and reliability of medication distribution and storage,” said Pharmacy Manager Melissa Ortega, PharmD, MS, who spearheaded the initiative. “By expanding the reach of our pharmacy services, we can better support doctors, nurses and other clinical staff in providing high quality care for our patients.  All of this was accomplished by a series of operational changes that allowed us to reorient our pharmacy technicians from our central pharmacy operation into our Pharmacy Service teams in the patient care areas.”

The Department of Pharmacy launched the TBT service on September 9 and incorporated one pharmacy technician into each of the acute care Pharmacy Service teams (Cancer, Critical Care, Medical/Surgical and Pediatrics/Perinatal). The TBTs are assigned to their specific patient care areas every week day and provide oversight  of medication distribution, storage and security, and assist with expediting the delivery of stat or urgently needed medications.  The technicians also support the pharmacists by conducting medication histories of newly admitted patients to facilitate the pharmacist’s validation of the patient’s admission medication list.

“Pharmacy technicians have never been so involved with patients and the patient care team. The transition has created a pharmacy technician workforce that is productive, engaged and service-oriented,” said Ortega. “The results speak for themselves. Technician morale has improved and their productivity can be easily quantified, as they have already completed medications histories of over 500 patients to date. This has allowed our pharmacists to intervene and prevent a number of adverse drug events associated with inaccurate or incomplete admission medication reconciliation.”

The TBT initiative has been extremely successful in fully leveraging our pharmacy technicians and providing efficiencies to other members of the care delivery team through a more streamlined medication distribution process. By facilitating pharmacy technician interaction with patients, the TBT program increases the accuracy of their medication lists, while also ensuring patients have the information they need to manage their medication therapy when they leave our care.