Pharmacy technicians are an essential part of the healthcare world, but many people aren’t sure what they do. Here at Cambridge College, our advisors often field questions from people who want to know more about pharmacy techs, so we want to share a glimpse into what your days might be like if you choose this rewarding, engaging career path.
The Work Environment
As a pharmacy technician, your responsibilities will vary based on where you’re working. Typically, though, you’ll be working alongside a licensed pharmacist(s). You may work in a hospital pharmacy, a retail pharmacy (such as CVS or Walgreens) or at a long-term care facility. The pharmacy technician is often the first point of contact for patients, doctors, caregivers and other customers.
Now, let’s talk about a few of the duties a pharmacy tech typically handles.
Most pharmacies now receive prescriptions electronically, so pharmacy technicians need to have enough computer skills to retrieve them from the program. Chances are you’ll spend some of your days in the system, where you’ll be able to see a patient’s new prescription and his/her prescription history. You certainly don’t need to be a computer whiz, but you’ll need to be able to function with whatever system your workplace uses.
Confirming Insurance Details
As a pharmacy tech, you’ll be responsible for verifying the patient’s insurance eligibility and prescription coverage prior to the patient receiving their prescription. Often, when a prescription comes in electronically, this information is already present. But when a patient comes in with a handwritten prescription, the pharmacy tech must manually look up information, including known allergies, date of birth and current contact information.
Submitting Insurance Claims
After you’ve confirmed that all the prescription information is accurate, it’s time to submit it to the insurance company for payment. In today’s digital world, it usually doesn’t take long for the insurer to process the prescription. But, if the insurance company denies the submission, it’s up to you to figure out why. You may have to spend some time on the phone with the insurer to find out what happened.
There’s much more to dispensing medication than counting out pills and labeling bottles (although those are critical tasks, too). First, the pharmacist reviews the medication for drug interactions, duplicate therapies, dosage and safety. Once the pharmacist clears the medication, it comes to the technician, who then verifies that the doctor’s information is correct and the proper medicine is distributed.
Learn More About What a Pharmacy Technician Does
As you can see, your day as a pharmacy tech will be filled with important tasks that directly affect patients. If you’re thinking about a career in this field, get in touch with a Cambridge advisor. We’d be happy to give you more information on our program and how you can get started.