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Clinical Pharmacy Services Technician

Site Name

Hill Air Force Base, UT

Primary Intended Outcomes

  1. Serve as a point of contact for both patients and clinic staff to optimize access to the clinical services available in the pharmacist-run ambulatory care clinic;
  2. Increase the efficiency of interactions between patients, pharmacists, and other clinic staff to maximize the number of appointments and eliminate gaps in communication;
  3. Decrease administrative responsibilities performed by the pharmacists to allow them to dedicate more time to direct patient care.

Site Description

Hill Air Force Base operates two pharmacy locations. The pharmacy provides both outpatient and clinical services to approximately 72,000 beneficiaries (active duty and retired military members and their dependents. Pharmacy services are provided by both active duty and civilian pharmacists and technicians.

The main pharmacy is located in an outpatient clinic containing family medicine, pediatrics, women’s health, dental, optometry, flight medicine, lab, radiology, immunizations, and physical therapy services. The satellite pharmacy provides outpatient pharmacy services for faxed, electronically prescribed, and hand-carried prescriptions from providers not affiliated with the Air Force, in addition to refill pickup. Pharmacy operations are supported by robotic automation and a robust staff of 11 pharmacists and 21 technicians. Two full-time clinical pharmacists average over 400 total appointments and more than 200 telephone consults each month. Clinical pharmacy services include disease management for chronic conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, hypothyroidism, and hyperlipidemia in addition to anticoagulation monitoring. Pharmacists also provide services for medication therapy management (MTM), medication bridges, smoking cessation, cold care, and seasonal allergy appointments. Outpatient prescription volume is approximately 30,000 prescriptions per month.

Advanced Role Description

  • Schedules appointments for patients referred to the pharmacist-run ambulatory care clinic;
  • Screens patients prior to appointments to make sure that appropriate labs have been completed;
  • Notes missing labs so that they can be ordered by the pharmacist before the visit;
  • Checks patients in and prepares documents/charts required for appointments;
  • Scans patient documentation such as home blood glucose or home blood pressure logs into the electronic medical record when the patient checks in;
  • Contacts new patients assigned to the clinic to introduce clinical services;
  • Communicates the status of bridge refill requests to patients;
  • Stocks, inventories, and checks for outdates in the clinic automated dispensing cabinets;
  • Provides administrative support in recruitment for and documentation of an ongoing MTM clinical study;
  • Ensures that deploying military members’ prescriptions are properly documented in the electronic medical record;
  • Coordinates the volunteer program that allows over 30 volunteers to donate approximately 400 hours per month to pharmacy operations;
  • Collects data to assess patient outcomes.

Tools and Resources

Access to electronic medical records, dedicated phone line, computer, scanner, copier, other office supplies.

Revenue and Expense Parameters

Personnel: One dedicated full time technician.

IT and other infrastructure: Dedicated space where patients check in for appointments, standard office supplies, computer, phone, scanner, copier, etc.

Return on Investment (ROI): Non-financial: Increased patient satisfaction, increased efficiency of workflow, and improved relations with other clinic staff. Financial: Patient encounters estimated to save the Military Health System over 1 million dollars annually resulting in significant financial gains even with expenses of additional staff

Training and/or Education Requirements

  • Certified pharmacy technician;
  • Great interpersonal skills both in person and over the phone;
  • Ability to use common computer programs including spreadsheets, word processing documents, and electronic medical records;
  • Good organizational skills and the ability to schedule and prioritize tasks;
  • Proficient with common office resources (phones, computers, scanners, etc.)

Outcome Measures

  • Improved efficiency with patient scheduling resulting in increased appointment capacity and availability;
  • Increased patient satisfaction by having an employee designated for questions and scheduling;
  • Enhanced consistency of care by having one point of contact for clinical services;
  • Decreased administrative burden on pharmacists to allow for more focus on clinical functions;

Lessons Learned

  1. This role is best filled by a certified pharmacy technician whose experience with medications commonly used in ambulatory care and understanding of prescription legal requirements allows them to better address patient needs and questions;
  2. Train an alternate technician to step into this role for vacations or sickness so that care is uninterrupted.