WASHINGTON — The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board on Monday announced that Certified Pharmacy Technicians eligible to recertify are now required to complete one hour of continuing education in patient safety, in addition to the already required hour of law CE, as part of 20 hours of CE needed for recertification. The new requirement is one of the planned Certification Program changes PTCB announced early last year to advance CPhT qualifications.
"Certified pharmacy technicians are essential members of the pharmacy practice team," stated Everett McAllister, PTCB executive director and CEO. "By continually learning more about how to prevent harm, CPhTs can have a positive impact on advancing the patient safety culture within pharmacies and the entire continuum of care."
PTCB has adopted the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education definition of patient safety described in the ACPE Policy and Procedures Manual. While PTCB-acceptable patient safety CE courses must be based on ACPE's patient safety definition, PTCB will not require CE credits to be earned only from ACPE-accredited providers. All CPhTs applying to renew certification must fulfill the new patient safety CE requirement.
As many as 89% of respondents to a profession-wide online survey conducted by PTCB in March 2012 supported adding a medication safety (equivalent to patient safety) CE requirement for recertification. "Pharmacy technicians assist pharmacists with duties that greatly affect patient care and safety, so it is important for CPhTs to be educated on how their daily responsibilities shape the medication distribution system," commented Scott Meyers, chair of the PTCB Board of Governors. "Adding the required hour in patient safety will help ensure CPhTs are prepared to safely assist with the practice of pharmacy."
Other planned Certification Program changes include American Society of Health-System Pharmacists-accredited education requirements for certification by 2020, and additional changes in acceptable CE programs for recertification, including requiring all 20 CE hours to be pharmacy technician-specific in 2015. Allowable CE hours from college courses will be reduced from 15 to 10 by 2016, and allowable in-service CE hours will be phased out by 2018.
PTCB's program changes elevate PTCB's certification standards and thereby support and advance improved patient care and safety throughout pharmacy practice. The changes are the result of a PTCB initiative which began with a 2011 summit on future directions for pharmacy technicians. Summit findings, combined with results from two profession-wide surveys, called for decisive changes in certification standards.