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Pharmacy 2015, 3(4), 330-343;

The Hidden Role of Community Pharmacy Technicians in Ensuring Patient Safety with the Use of E-Prescribing

Pharmacy and Therapeutics, School of Pharmacy, University of Pittsburgh, 3501 Terrace St, 720 Salk Hall, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA
Social & Administrative Sciences, School of Pharmacy, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 777 Highland Avenue, Madison, WI 53705, USA
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Reem Kayyali
Received: 6 August 2015 / Revised: 19 October 2015 / Accepted: 17 November 2015 / Published: 25 November 2015
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Community Pharmacy)
Full-Text   |   PDF [535 KB, uploaded 25 November 2015]   |  


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: pharmacy technicians; electronic prescribing; e-prescribing; patient safety; community pharmacies pharmacy technicians; electronic prescribing; e-prescribing; patient safety; community pharmacies

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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Odukoya, O.K.; Schleiden, L.J.; Chui, M.A. The Hidden Role of Community Pharmacy Technicians in Ensuring Patient Safety with the Use of E-Prescribing. Pharmacy 2015, 3, 330-343.

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