Objectives: It has been reported that supportive personnel, such as pharmacy technicians, are key participants in the use of health information technology. The purpose of this study was to describe how pharmacy technicians use e-prescribing and to explore the characteristics of technicians that support pharmacists in ensuring patient safety.
Methods: This was a qualitative study that used observations, interviews, and focus groups to understand the role of pharmacy technicians in e-prescribing. Fourteen pharmacy technicians and 13 pharmacists from five community pharmacies participated. Observations lasted about nine hours in each pharmacy. Follow-up interviews and two separate focus groups were later conducted. Observation field notes and audio recordings were transcribed and thematically analyzed.
Results: Pharmacy technicians were primarily responsible for all steps leading up to pharmacist review of the e-prescription and dispensing of medications to the patient. Technician characteristics, including experience, certification status, and knowledge of appropriate medication use, were reported as important factors in supporting a pharmacist’s role in ensuring patient safety with the use of e-prescribing. Conclusion: Study findings indicate that pharmacy technicians have an important role in supporting pharmacists to prevent medication errors. Certain characteristics of pharmacy technicians were identified with the potential to improve the e-prescription medication dispensing process and decrease patient harm through the identification and resolution of errors.
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