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  4.  → How has COVID-19 changed pharmacies?

How has COVID-19 changed pharmacies?

The pandemic fueled change in our family lives, our working lives and even the marketplace as a whole. The pandemic changed every marketplace within our communities, from retail to healthcare. One of the most visible changes within the healthcare marketplace is the use of pharmacies and pharmacists to administer and order COVID-19 tests and vaccinations. This directly impacted the workflow of the typical pharmacy at every level.

As noted in a recent article in Pharmacy Times, pharmacies were now balancing the demands of their patients to address COVID-19 while also managing their regular tasks. The pandemic already made these regular tasks more difficult, as those working in the pharmacy had to practice extra caution due to COVID-19. Pharmacists also had to add in administration of the tests and vaccines, techs had to adjust their patient intake practices to better ensure patient safety during a pandemic and additional staff had to manage a surge in phone calls and scheduling.

With this surge, many pharmacies found themselves wondering how much work a tech could take off the pharmacist’s plate? Pharmacists and pharmacy owners needed to navigate these conversations carefully, as a misstep not only put patient health at risk but could also be a violation of state and federal regulations. If accused of violating federal regulations, a pharmacy owner or pharmacist could find themselves and their pharmacy under investigation by federal authorities. This could threaten their license and their ability to continue practicing in their chosen profession.

The pandemic may lead to a push for the advancement of technicians within pharmacies. This could include increased use of techs to provide vaccinations and even meet certain telemedicine needs. Even so, such changes should be taken with care to better ensure compliance with applicable regulations.