PTCB Announces Medication Therapy Management Certificate
Earlier this month, the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) announced the availability of the Medication Therapy Management (MTM) certificate for pharmacy technicians. The creation of this new credential recognizes the important role of pharmacy technicians in improving medication safety and patient adherence through proper medication management. It also recognizes the in-depth knowledge pharmacy technicians can attain regarding medication uses and safety issues.
Pharmacy Technicians and Medication Therapy Management
The pharmacy technician role continues to evolve in response to changes in the healthcare landscape and the breadth of training that technicians receive. Allowing pharmacy technicians to perform duties at the “top of their license” maximizes their value and utility to the healthcare system. It also allows pharmacists to focus on clinical roles and practice at the top of their license as well.
Pharmacists have managed numerous aspects of medication therapy for decades. MTM as a service was formally defined in 2003 with the enactment of the Medicare Modernization Act. The core elements of a formal MTM service include: a review of the medication therapy, development of a personal medication record, creation of an action plan to ensure proper medication therapy, interventions to correct any issues or refer the patient for follow-up care, and documentation. These services are required for some patients who have Medicare Part D, and are often appropriate and even reimbursable for many other patient populations. Evidence has shown that when done correctly and consistently, MTM services can improve patient outcomes and reduce healthcare resource utilization and overall costs.
Traditionally, the majority or all of the MTM service elements were performed by pharmacists. However, demanding workflows and a recognition of the skills of pharmacy technicians led to the incorporation of technicians into the MTM workflow. Now, many pharmacies and health systems utilize pharmacy technicians in some aspects of MTM. Pharmacy technicians are most commonly utilized to help identify and schedule appropriate MTM patients, perform medication reconciliation, perform a cursory medication therapy review, and assist in documentation. As we’ve seen with other duties, the role of the technician continues to expand and some centers even report having technicians perform physical assessments and developing the patient’s personal medication record.
Incorporation of pharmacy technicians into the MTM workflow expands the ability of the pharmacy to provide this much needed service to patients. Additionally, both pharmacists and pharmacy technicians report increased job satisfaction. The availability of the certificate credential recognizing expertise in this service will help to continue advancement of the pharmacy profession and the role of the pharmacy technician.
Medication Therapy Management Certificate Requirements
Currently, the PTCB is requiring all applicants to have already attained their CPhT credential by passing the PTCE. In addition, completion of a PTCB-recognized Medication Therapy Management education program is required. More information about eligibility and a list of available recognized programs can be found here: https://www.ptcb.org/credentials/medication-therapy-management-certificate
Similar to the PTCE, the Medication Therapy Management certificate exam is a multiple-choice, online-based exam using the Pearson VUE software. There are 75 questions, and test-takers have a total of one hour and twenty minutes for the exam. Additionally, there is a 5-minute tutorial prior to and a 5-minute survey after the exam. The knowledge domains represented on the exam are medications and medical concepts, patient safety and quality assurance strategies, and MTM administration and management.
The application fee for the exam is $89, but the PTCB is running a special discounted price of $59 through March 7th, 2022.
Completing the MTM certificate provides the pharmacy technician with a credential recognizing their expertise. It could result in being a more attractive candidate to employers using pharmacy technicians within MTM services. Additionally, this certificate counts towards the certification and certificate requirements to become an advanced certified pharmacy technician.
Collectively, pharmacy technicians earning this certificate and showing their value in MTM services could help to advance the pharmacy technician profession through legislative changes and innovations in pharmacy practice. Most importantly, it will help increase the scope of MTM services across the country, improving patient lives through optimized medication therapy.
For those interested in pursuing this certificate but who are not yet certified, the next step will be pursuing the CPhT credential. Our online PTCB-recognized education program is an excellent way to prepare for the PTCE.