Most often patients think of their family doctor and his or her nurse as their healthcare team. If they have chronic conditions, then specialists and surgeons might also fit in that category. Very rarely, however, does a patient think of their local pharmacist and pharmacy technician as part of that team as well. As we have watched the pharmacy profession evolve through the years, we now see pharmacists taking on more of a health management role.
Under health management programs, a team of healthcare professionals identifies patients within a particular population who are either at risk of developing or are currently suffering from a specific disease. They then develop and implement strategies for the patients and their “team” on specific ways to prevent, manage, and treat the disease. A good example of this would be reminding patients when it’s time to get their flu shots or other preventative measures.
Here’s another example. Suppose a group of patients with diabetes has been identified. The pharmacist might help them by providing medication management and review, providing educational programs, and regularly monitoring self-tested blood glucose levels. You, as the pharmacy technician, might assist by helping these patients locate home blood glucose monitoring equipment, providing information about where to find low-sugar OTC products in the store, and where to find the diabetic skin care products.
Working together, you and the pharmacist can make a big impact on the health of your community and the quality of healthcare available. This article is a great example of how a pharmacist and his pharmacy technician (who also happens to be his wife) are making a difference in Conway, Arkansas.
This video from the American Society of Health‑System Pharmacists (ASHP) is a great description of how pharmacists (and pharm techs too!) are part of patients’ healthcare teams.