IT Experience or Pharmacy Experience? Who Should You Hire to Manage Technology in Your Pharmacy?

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When hiring new IT staff for your pharmacy, there are some factors you need to consider. Should you choose a pharmacy technician without an IT background? Or a person with an IT background without a pharmacy background? It’s a tough call. Ideally, you want to hire someone who can navigate your pharmacy system and provide you with the support you need.

But this is more likely a dream scenario than a reality.

Currently, there is a shortage of pharmacy technicians in the United States. Experts predict that demand for these staff members will grow by 9 percent over the next decade, and 34,700 people will need to fulfill roles during this time period, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.

So what’s the best course of action to take?

The Benefits of Hiring a Pharmacy Technician with No IT Background

A pharmacy technician is a vital member of your team. Think of them as the “eyes and ears” of your pharmacy business. They welcome customers. They listen to their problems. They dispense medications, whether over-the-counter or on prescription.

But, just as importantly, they use technology to keep your business running smoothly.

Currently, there are 397,430 pharmacy technicians in the United States. Not all of them have IT backgrounds, though. While these professionals are competent when it comes to receiving and confirming prescriptions, greeting customers and replenishing stock, they might not know how to operate a complicated computer infrastructure.

What About an IT Technician with No Pharmacy Background?

This is a tricky one. Yes, someone with an IT background can operate even the most complicated of IT systems, which proves useful when integrating systems or implementing new ones. However, they lack pharmacy knowledge, which can have a detrimental impact on your business.

With bigger retail chains offering pharmacy services — currently, CVS, Walgreens, and Walmart dominate the market — patients have more choice than ever before. If they have to wait a long time in line for prescriptions or receive poor customer service as a result of hiring the wrong staff, they will take their business elsewhere.

Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is the pharmacy technician tech savvy? Find out some technical hobbies or projects they have done in the past.
  • Can an IT trained person provide the same level of service as a pharmacy technician? Are they eager to learn the pharmacy industry?
  • Do you have a complex technical environment that requires scripting work, information security, or reporting development needs?

The answer to this question is the complexity of your environment in your pharmacy. If you are able to manage to have two individuals, then they can fill in for each other’s weaknesses. However, if you are a small shop, and you only get one, the formula is easy.

Complex technology with interfaces and data feeds = IT trained

Simple environment = pharmacy technician

Both are capable of learning each other’s skill set. The answer has the smallest lift without impacting your patients.

 

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