What does a Pharmacy Technician do?

Have you ever stopped to think about each of the steps that are required to fill a prescription? In honor of Pharmacy Technician Day on October 19, we are sharing a sneak peek of the role pharmacy technicians play to keep pharmacies running like clockwork - and their increasingly important role in telepharmacy and vaccine distribution.

Daily role of a pharmacy technician

Pharmacy technicians work under the direct supervision of pharmacists to prepare prescriptions and maintain patient records, which includes measuring, counting and labeling prescriptions. They also perform medication inventories, assist with customer service needs and process insurance claims.

How did COVID-19 impact the roles and responsibilities of pharmacy technicians?

Rafael Roman, a pharmacy technician at the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York, sat down with the American Society of Health System Pharmacists to discuss how his role evolved following the COVID-19 outbreak. Roman and his team began operating under a hybrid work environment, and they also increased time spent on technician recruitment efforts from 23% to 60% in anticipation of a second wave. Most importantly, Roman maintained constant communication with nurses and doctors to maximize efficiency and make sure patients received their medications as quickly as possible.

What role will pharmacy technicians play in the future? The pandemic created space within the pharmacy profession for pharmacy technicians to play a larger role – from helping patients navigate the health care system to addressing health disparities and insufficient social support across patient groups. Prior to the pandemic, pharmacy technicians didn’t frequently give immunizations to patients. However, following approval from the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, they now play an important role in the efficient distribution of vaccines.

Our team at Community Cares Rx is fortunate to work with a large network of pharmacy technicians to help patients get the best possible prices on their medications. Become a cardholder today and unlock access to our online pharmacy locator, price comparison tool and other resources.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit www.communitycaresrx.com.

Health Care Through Your Screen: The Impact of Telepharmacy

As the world works to combat the pandemic, many healthcare service professionals turned to telepharmacy to continue the management of prescription medications. The impact has been worldwide, with the global telepharmacy market expected to reach $71.43 billion by 2027. We’re outlining three benefits of this game-changing healthcare service:

More Emphasis on Patient Care, Less on Logistics

At the onset of the pandemic and implementation of social distancing protocols, hospitals and other healthcare service teams struggled to provide medications to patients in a timely manner. Telepharmacy was an efficient fix to this problem, allowing hospitals to focus less on the logistical elements of patient care. Now, there is an increased focus on developing direct-to-patient and clinical services to provide patient education, monitoring, adherence support and antimicrobial and opioid stewardship programs.

Growth of Digital Applications

Digital pharmacies have been in the works for years, but is now being implemented in even more pharmacy organizations. Mobile health telepharmacy improves medication adherence through the use of smartphone apps and near-field communication (NFC) protocols. These protocols allow mobile devices to communicate using a wireless connection. While video conferencing is the most common tool in telepharmacy, innovative health technologies such as digital pill bottles, ingestible sensors and remote dispensing machines are all key tools in the industry.  

Expanded Hours and Locations

Telepharmacy expands options for advanced clinical offerings, allowing pharmacists to reach new groups of patients in remote locations. Pharmacies located in rural or small-volume hospitals with limited resources can utilize the expansion of service hours if around-the-clock coverage is in high demand. Not only do advanced clinical offerings help pharmacists reach a wider audience, but they also help improve patient safety by educating and monitoring patients and providing adherence support.

The growing popularity of telepharmacy within the pharmaceutical industry is making medication management more efficient than ever. At Community Cares Rx, we understand the importance of access to prescription medications. Customers who are part of our prescription discount program are able to locate pharmacies online and see which pharmacy offers the best price for their particular medication.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.

Three Foods with Long-Term Health Benefits

Practicing good dietary habits can set you on track for a longer life. According to The Lancet, practicing bad dietary habits can lead to unwanted effects on your health, including death. It’s important that we not only consider how much we eat, but what foods we put into our body. Here are three food items that scientists say are proven to help reduce physical and neurological disease and maintain your overall health:

Coffee

If you crave a cup of coffee each morning, you’re in luck! Coffee dramatically impacts our brain health by keeping us alert in the short-term, blocking adenosine receptors and reducing the risk of depression, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease. The compounds in coffee have the power to improve vascular health, repair cellular damage and reduce inflammation. Decaf coffee and green tea have many of the same health benefits as regular coffee, if you don’t want the extra caffeine kick!

Colorful Vegetables and Fruits

Your parents most likely told you to “eat your greens” growing up, but did they tell you to “eat the rainbow?” Different colored fruits and vegetables provide various nutrients and health benefits. Focusing on eating a variety of colors increases your intake of vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that positively impact your long-term health. In addition, colorful fruits and vegetables act as anti-inflammatories and can rid your body of toxins.

Whole Grains

People have been eating whole grains for many years, and scientists have identified numerous health benefits. Whole grains such as oatmeal, quinoa and brown rice can lower your risk of heart disease, help prevent strokes, reduce your risk of obesity, support healthy digestion and supply your body with nutrients and fiber. One of the easiest ways to incorporate this food group into your diet is to choose a whole-grain alternative in place of white pasta or bread.

While fueling your body with nutritious foods plays a significant role in maintaining your overall health, managing your prescription medications is another important factor. When you join the Community Cares Rx program, you can easily find the best prices on your medications.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit https://www.communitycaresrx.com.

Celebrating National Health Center Week

This month, the National Association of Community Health Centers (NACHC) celebrated National Health Center Week to highlight the accomplishments of health centers and their staff and raise awareness for important public health concerns such as healthcare for children and individuals experiencing homelessness. Here are some of the organizations supporting the vital services that health care centers provide in their communities:

Health Care for the Homeless

The National Health Care for the Homeless Council aims to help those experiencing homelessness receive primary and behavioral health care, case management, outreach and more. There are 300 health centers that receive funding from the Health Care for the Homeless program, and they provide care for one million out of the 1.3 million homeless people that visit health centers each year.

Sesame Street in Communities

More than eight million children in the U.S. visit community health centers to receive health care. Just in time for kids to return to school, NACHC is working with Sesame Street in Communities (SSIC), a bilingual, multimedia initiative featuring beloved Muppets, to enhance learning and help children cope with traumatic experiences.

PRAPARE

PRAPARE, The Protocol for Responding to and Assessing Patients’ Assets, Risks and Experiences, assists health centers in the collection and applications of data to understand patients’ social determinants of health. PRAPARE’s research allows providers to evaluate and improve care, integrate delivery systems and decrease costs.

Interested in learning more about the impact of heath care centers in communities? This infographic courtesy of the NACHC further breaks down the individuals served by health care, the positive health impacts of this service and other key statistical information.

At Community Cares Rx, we understand that an important element of public health includes the access to affordable medications. Learn more at https://www.communitycaresrx.com/.

Three Tips to Cope with Burnout

Burnout is a popular buzzword right now, but neglecting your personal needs is serious, and can push your body past its limits and contribute to ongoing stress. Here are three simple ways to take a break, recharge and fend off burnout.

Put Down the Screens

There’s so much more to life beyond a screen. It may be hard to believe, but in today’s tech-savvy world, adults are spending more time on their devices than they are sleeping. Taking a break from technology can help cultivate closer relationships, increase productivity and focus, reduce stress, and help you become more mindful of the present. Experts suggest setting personal screen limits, especially when you’re feeling overwhelmed and stressed. When you feel the urge to check your work email after hours, remind yourself that your notifications will be there waiting for you the next morning.

Take a Nap

When your body’s battery is running low, taking a snooze can be a great way to recharge. Did you know a 10-20-minute power nap can boost your alertness, make you feel more awake and perform better. In order to ensure that you take a successful nap, The Sleep Foundation recommends setting an alarm, napping earlier in the day and creating a sleep-friendly environment. Pro tip: Blocking out light helps you fall asleep faster, so consider investing in blackout curtains.

Catch Up with Loved Ones

The strength of your social circle plays a pivotal role in your overall health. Interacting with others has the power to lower stress levels, improve your mood and even improve recovery rates from illnesses. Activities such as exercising, cooking and volunteering are all great ways to step away from your daily routine and engage with the people around you. Try incorporating a weekly coffee date or lunchtime walk with a friend to keep your meet-ups regular.

With many household and work-related tasks on our mind each day, consistent access to your prescription medications should not be an added stressor. When you open a Community Cares Rx prescription discount card, there’s no need to worry about finding the right prescription medications. Our membership includes online tools to locate a pharmacy and research drug pricing and availability for easy and affordable access.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.

Adventure Awaits: How to Make Your Summer Travel Plans Healthy and Fun

Contrary to popular belief, it is possible to maintain a healthy lifestyle while on vacation. Even on island time, you can get enough sleep, eat a variety of nutritious foods and come prepared with first-aid supplies and medications. Let’s take a closer look at how you can have a vacation to remember, all while prioritizing your health:

Rest Up!

While some people can easily fall asleep on a plane, others have a hard time. Taking melatonin or drinking chamomile tea before your flight can help you combat jet lag and get some rest in the sky. Before you close your eyes, position a travel pillow at your neck so that you don’t sleep with improper alignment and wake up sore. In addition, avoid ingesting large amounts of alcohol and caffeine, which can disrupt your sleep schedule. Pro tip: Having plenty of water on hand will help you stay hydrated and refreshed.

Monitor the Menu

On vacation, you’ll likely be dining out for most of your meals. Be on the lookout for dishes that incorporate lots of fruits and vegetables. If you don’t have access to a kitchen, you can still buy the fixings for sandwiches and salads and store them in your hotel mini fridge. When you’re out and about for an entire afternoon, pack healthy snack options that travel well, like nuts and apples, to keep your energy up.

Put Your Safety First

You never know when simple first-aid supplies will come in handy. Packing items such as insect repellent, antibacterial wipes, bandages and ibuprofen will guarantee that you are prepared for any minor mishap. If you take routine medications, experts at Health Matters recommend packing them in your carry-on bag in the event that your checked luggage gets misplaced. Traveling international? Be sure to check the guidelines for any vaccinations required before entering the country.  

No matter where your travels take you, managing your health and medications should never get in the way of your adventures. With the Community Cares Rx prescription discount program, you are guaranteed easy and affordable access to your medications with the help of online pharmacy locators and price comparison tools.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit www.paramountrx.com.  

Prioritize Your Health: Three Reasons Why You Should Schedule an Annual Physical Exam

You don’t have to have a sore throat, cough or another symptom of sickness to visit the doctor. In order to stay on top of your health, it’s important that you schedule an annual physical exam with your primary care physician. Let’s further examine the benefits of a yearly physical exam and what it can do for your overall health and wellness.

Assess your risks

A physical examination can determine your risk level for various conditions and the early intervention and prevention strategies that are needed to ensure the longevity of your health. Select diseases can be hereditary, meaning that your physician needs to know your family history to complete a proper risk assessment. In addition, a physical exam analyzes your blood pressure, cholesterol levels, blood glucose level and body mass index to catch any warning signs of health complications.

Stay up to date

Children are not the only people who should be keeping up with their vaccinations. Adults should, too! Your physician can recommend immunizations based on your vaccination history and other health factors. Common vaccines that are recommended to adults include the Tdap vaccine, flu vaccine, HPV vaccine, pneumonia vaccine, shingles vaccines and hepatitis B vaccine. Oftentimes, your physician will be able to administer a vaccination at your physical exam.

Build a healthy relationship

Yearly physical exams will not only help you get to know your physician, but help your physician better understand the status of your health in the event of an illness. Plus, consistently visiting a primary care center may guarantee faster treatment if you are to become sick. If you have any concerns regarding your health, you will be able to discuss your questions during the exam with a trustworthy professional that has an in-depth understanding of your medical history.

Like a physical exam, the Community Cares Rx prescription discount program is a tool that helps you consistently manage your health. Our program ensures easy and affordable access to your prescription medications through the use of online pharmacy locators and price comparison tools.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.

Soak Up the Sun: Three Ways to Safely Enjoy the Sunny Weather

June 20 marks the first day of Summer! While the sun may feel great on our skin, it is important to take steps to protect our skin from sun damage. Here are three tips that you can use to make sure that you are safely enjoying your fun in the sun:

 Take a break

Did you know that UV rays can cause skin damage in as little as 15 minutes, and that most skin cancers are caused by too much exposure to UV rays? According to the American Cancer Society, the sun is at its strongest from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Instead of staying outside for an entire afternoon, escape indoors for short periods of time to break up your UV ray exposure. If you’re unsure how strong the sun is, try the shadow test: If your shadow in shorter than you are, the sun is at its strongest. 

Apply Sunscreen

The Skin Cancer Foundation reports that daily use of sunscreen reduces your risk of developing squamous cell carcinoma by 40% and melanoma by 50%. In addition, applying sunscreen helps prevent skin wrinkles, sagging and age spots. When choosing a sunscreen, make sure it is broad spectrum to protect your skin from both UVA and UVB rays. Even on a cloudy day, UB rays can penetrate through the clouds.

Cover Up

Wearing sun protective clothing is a great way to limit your exposure to UV rays. This type of clothing carries an ultraviolet protection factor (UPF) that communicates how much of the sun can be blocked by wearing the fabric. Similar to the SPF levels in sunscreen, the numbers for UPF (ranging from 15 to over 50) indicate how protective the clothing is and what fraction of the sun’s rays can pass through the material to your skin. Remember, UV rays can bounce off surfaces like water, sand, snow, or pavement, so keep your hat and sunglasses nearby.

Protecting your skin and taking care of your body are important all year. When you open a Community Cares Rx prescription discount card, you are guaranteed to have easy and affordable access to the medications that you need all year long using online tools to locate a pharmacy and research drug pricing and availability.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.

Looking Forward: New Healthcare Trends Shape an Advanced Future

If there is one thing summer will bring besides warm temperatures, beach trips and outdoor cookouts, it’s change. As we learn to adapt to the post-pandemic world, the healthcare industry is also adapting to keep up with the latest advancements. Let’s take a deeper look at the policies and practices that healthcare professionals believe will have a major impact on the industry.

Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence (AI), referring to the simulation of human intelligence in machines , has made its way to healthcare. Demand for better COVID-19 testing protocols and vaccination procedures prompted the healthcare industry to invest heavily in AI. Utilizing the powers of AI has produced many notable advances, like better patient outcomes, improved diagnoses and increases in revenue. Most recently, AI has been utilized as a predictive tool to determine early signs of cancer, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and other serious health conditions.

Hyper Personalization

The advancement of personalized medicine is moving us closer to more predictable and powerful health care that is customized for the individual patient – which benefits everyone. Hyper personalization, an emerging industry advancement, is a form of precise medicine that provides custom-made treatments to patients beyond the initial diagnosis. The market value for this form of medicine is predicted to reach $3.18 trillion by 2025, and there are four factors that will help it get there: the availability of big data, the adoption of electronic health records within systems, advancements in machine learning and artificial intelligence and The Orphan Drug Act.

Prescription Drug Spending 

A study from the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy said that overall prescription drug spending is expected to rise from 4% to 6% in 2021. In addition, a spending increase of 7% to 9% is expected in clinics and 3% to 5% in hospitals. There are multiple factors that are likely contributing to the increase in prescription drug spending, including the increased costs associated with the development of rare disease treatments, cancer drugs and the FDA approval of specialty drugs.

While the future of the healthcare industry is unfamiliar and ever-changing, gaining access to your prescription medications is not. The Community Cares Rx prescription discount program guarantees easy and affordable access to your prescription medications using online pharmacy locators and price comparison tools.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.

How to Prioritize Your Mental Health While Working from Home

Over the course of the past year, the pandemic has forced the world to change routines and establish a “new normal.” The transition to remote workspaces has proven challenging for some, with professionals disconnected from in-person collaboration and everyday social connection. May is National Mental Health Month, so it’s the perfect time to revisit and improve your work-from-home habits:

Get Up and Get Moving

Sitting at a desk and starring at screens all day can be mentally draining. Setting aside time for a quick workout to break up the workday is a great way to keep your skills sharp and your mind focused. According to the Mental Health Foundation, regular exercise improves your self-esteem, sleep and concentration. Health professionals recommend engaging in 30 minutes of exercise at least five days per week. Don’t have time to hit the gym? Take your morning calls on a neighborhood stroll or incorporate a standing desk into your routine.

Stay In Touch  

Video calls have been a saving grace for many remote workers. Scheduling face-to-face calls to discuss new ideas and collaborate on projects is a great alternative to in-person communication. Plus, fostering connections in the workplace stimulates happiness, reduces stress and inspires positivity. However, it’s equally important to be mindful of ‘Zoom fatigue’ and recognize when you need a break from the camera.

Establish a Work-Life Balance

When working from home, it is easy for your professional life to blend with your personal life. Overexerting yourself, also known as burnout, is linked to the development of depression and anxiety. It’s important to log off your computer at a reasonable hour and dedicate time to the selfcare activities that help you de-stress, such as cooking, watching television or meditating. If possible, set up a designated workspace to help create boundaries between your work and home life.

While stressful at times, working from home also has its perks, including more family time, access to healthy food and furry friends at our feet. These benefits help boost our mood and improve our mental health.

Whether you are returning to the office soon or continuing to work from home, if you are prescribed medication for a mental health condition, it’s important to follow your treatment plan to maintain your mental wellbeing. The Community Cares Rx prescription discount program makes managing your medications easy and affordable by giving you access to online pharmacy locators and price comparison tools.

For more details on Community Cares Rx and other programs that provide costs saving on prescription medications, please visit http://www.paramountrx.com/.