PTCB survey: Pharmacists think pharmacy technicians can reduce medication errors

WASHINGTON Most pharmacists think that certified pharmacy technicians reduce the number of medication errors, according to a new survey sponsored by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

Results from the survey indicated that 81% of pharmacists consider certification of pharmacy techs to be essential to reducing medication errors. The results, based on a survey of about 3,250 pharmacists in various practice settings around the United States conducted by researchers at the University of Oklahoma College of Pharmacy, were unveiled at the American Pharmacists Association’s annual meeting in March.

“The data show that the majority of pharmacists -- in fact, [more than] 80% of those surveyed -- agree that pharmacy technician certification is associated with a reduction in medication errors,” PTCB CEO and executive director Melissa Murer Corrigan said. “This survey provides the data to support something we have known for years but are now able to quantify: Well-trained and PTCB-certified pharmacy technicians make a positive impact on patient care.”

Another 83% of respondents said that working with certified pharmacy techs allowed pharmacists to spend more time on patient care. Pharmacy technician positions are expected to increase by 25% by 2018, according to the PTCB.

“Pharmacists recognize how important it is to be able to rely on well-trained and certified pharmacy technicians as a means to spend more time focusing on patient care and safety,” researcher Shane Desselle said.

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