Pilot with WSU College of Pharmacy leads to new law
BOISE, Idaho — Albertsons Cos. and the Washington State University College of Pharmacy collaborated on a pilot program to provide immunization training for pharmacy technicians.
Aimed at expanding patient access to health care services, the pilot led to the first law allowing pharmacy technicians to administer vaccinations, Albertsons said. In turn, that led to an Albertsons Cos. pharmacy technician being the first Rx technician in the United States to give a shot to a patient.
“Pharmacy technicians are integral to our business. We are proud to embrace the changing role of pharmacy technicians and partner with WSU to expand access to health services in Idaho,” Mark Panzer, senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness for Albertsons Cos., said in a statement. “We couldn’t be prouder than when our very own Samantha Thompson, a Safeway pharmacy technician in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, became the first pharmacy technician in the country to administer an immunization.”
The WSU College of Pharmacy developed the Idaho Pharmacy Technician Immunization Training Pilot to help address shortfalls in health care delivery, health care access and disease prevention, according to Albertsons. The pilot began in December, with WSU working with the Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education (ACPE) and Idaho Board of Pharmacy.
Albertsons said it became engaged in the pilot through a shared connection. The food and drug retailer provided a grant to develop and deliver the four-hour professional education to pharmacy technicians in Spokane, Wash., and Boise, Idaho.
In March, the pilot spurred the state of Idaho to pass a law — the first of its kind in the U.S. — to allow Idaho pharmacy technicians to undergo the pharmacy board-approved training to administer immunizations to pharmacy patients, Albertsons said.
“WSU faculty colleagues Kyle Frazier, Linda Garrelts-MacLean and I trained 25 Albertsons and Safeway technicians and are collecting data on how many immunizations they give between December 2016 and May 2017,” stated Kimberly McKeirnan, clinical assistant professor at the WSU College of Pharmacy. “The data collected will be used to show how expanding the number of health professionals trained to immunize patients can increase immunization rates, better utilize the skills of pharmacy technicians, and ease the time burden on pharmacists.”
More training is planned for other pharmacy technicians in Idaho interested in pursuing immunization certification.
Overall, Albertsons operates more than 2,200 supermarkets and 1,700-plus in-store pharmacies under 19 banners in 35 states and the District of Columbia.