Teamwork, technology help strengthen pharmacy services

Dr. Bri Morris, senior director of education and long-term care at the National Community Pharmacists Association (NCPA), discusses the importance of teamwork in pharmacies.

ask: What is the importance of teamwork in pharmacy?

Brie Morris: As we’ve seen with COVID over the past few years, it’s very important. Pharmacies are busier than ever, and they are able to serve their communities like never before. They couldn’t have done this without their team. This year at the National Centre for the Performing Arts, we are very pleased to welcome the many support staff and teams who have really helped us through this difficult time over the past few years.

ask: How can pharmacies improve workflow and efficiency to reduce workload?

Brie Morris: Absolutely. Take on new roles in the business by working with their support staff and other non-pharmacist teams and keep the pharmacist’s role committed to the things pharmacists must have through their practice.

ask: How can technicians be effectively used to take over more of the pharmacist’s role?

Brie Morris: Technicians have taken on many different roles over the past few years, and you’ll see it at NCPA conventions, where we have more speaking support staff than ever before. I was actually talking to one of our speakers the other day, and he has a technician who is managing all their immunizations and they deliver 1000s and 1000s a year. She’s gotten to the point where now she’s going to hire support staff for her support staff because they’ve grown a lot. I don’t think the pharmacy team is just the pharmacists who work there, and I’m very excited about this change we’re seeing in the industry and how technicians and other support staff are really getting the recognition they deserve.

ask: How can technology help bridge the gap between increasing responsibilities and staffing challenges?

Brie Morris: Yes, technology is very important in any industry, but we’re seeing it in pharmacies in particular that it can improve the efficiency of some of these workflows, especially when we look more deeply at the service model and how pharmacists and their teams can get out of the way. More service is available behind the counter. We really need technology to help strengthen this distribution model and be able to help us in this way.

ask: What long-term changes do you see in the pharmacy business during the pandemic?

Brie Morris: Pharmacies have to adapt very quickly to patient and community needs during a pandemic, so we’re seeing things like curbside delivery of COVID-19 tests, immunizations and immunizations from support staff that you may not have tried before, big Scale vaccination clinics, open immunization clinics for your long-term care patients, which may not be an area you’ve been in before. I think all these different service opportunities will continue to exist. I think point-of-care testing is a huge opportunity for pharmacies in the next decade. I think this will become as important to the industry as immunization, and we will continue to see the role of pharmacist technicians and other support staff continue to evolve as we move into the future.

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