Pharmacists are widely considered the most accessible healthcare professionals, and their expanded responsibilities have made this more true than ever before. In many parts of the country, however, especially remote and rural regions, even pharmacists can be about as easy to find as a cornfield in New York City. But technology is helping pharmacists provide services to rural areas by allowing them to remotely monitor pharmacy technicians, according to the country’s largest organization that certifies pharmacy techs.
The Pharmacy Technician Certification Board said telepharmacy allows a pharmacy tech to be supervised remotely in real time by a pharmacist and prepare prescriptions. Boards of pharmacy in several states have begun adopting regulations that allow for telepharmacy, including those in Kansas, North Dakota, South Dakota, Texas, Idaho, Utah and Hawaii.
“Telepharmacy expands patient access to pharmacy consultations and vital healthcare services in rural and medically underserved areas,” PTCB executive director and CEO Everett McAllister said. “PTCB-certified pharmacy technicians play a significant role in this safe and cost-effective alternative, providing patients with maximum coverage.”
Recently, the Kansas State Board of Pharmacy adopted regulations that allow state-licensed pharmacists to electronically supervise one pharmacy technician or pharmacy student in a licensed pharmacy at a medical facility in the state, with the techs performing typical duties, such as reviewing cart fills and filling automated dispensing cabinets with the pharmacist observing the procedures through a real-time audio, video or computer connection.