What to Expect from the PTCB Patient Safety and Quality Assurance Section?

PTCB Patient Safety and Quality Assurance

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Planning to pursue a pharmacy technician license? Are you preparing to take the PTCB exam? If so, you may be wondering how to prepare for the PTCB patient safety and quality assurance section of the exam?

In this article, you will learn about the PTCB patient safety and quality assurance section for the PTCB exam.

PTCB Patient Safety and Quality Assurance

The Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE) consists of 4 major parts, which include:

  • Medications.
  • Federal Requirements.
  • Patient Safety and Quality Assurance.
  • Order Entry and Processing.

The section makes up about 26.25% of the PTCE questions. This section has the second-highest amount of weight in the PTCB exam.

There are 90 multiple-choice questions (MCQs). Out of those 90 questions, only 80 questions are scored. Candidates are given about one hour and 50 minutes to complete those 90 questions.

1High alert or risk medications, and look-alike or sound-alike medications.
2Error prevention strategies.
3Issues that require pharmacist intervention.
4Event reporting procedures.
5Types of prescription errors.
6Hygiene and cleaning standards.
PTCB Patient Safety and Quality Assurance

PTCB Exam Patient Safety and Quality Assurance Section


As a pharmacy technician, there are high chances for the occurrence of medication errors, which can result in a high potential for risk. Though there are many ways to reduce the potential for risk, being aware and mindful when performing your daily tasks can help you perform them error-free.

High alert, or risk medications, are medicines that are more likely to cause major harm to patients if used incorrectly. Sound-alike or look-alike medications are also a common cause of medication errors. Tall man lettering can be used to help pharmacy technicians differentiate between the two sound-alike or look-alike drugs.

NOTE: Tall man lettering is a method used to differentiate between look-alike or sound-like drug names using capital letters. For example, for the drug name ‘prednisone’ the tall man lettering format will be ‘predniSONE’


Though making mistakes is common, a medication error is something that can cost a patient’s safety. The best way to avoid it is by preventing medication errors from occurring. As a pharmacy technician, you need to be cautious about delivering the correct order to the correct patient with no mistakes. You must make sure to verify all the necessary details before delivering an order to the patient.

As a pharmacy technician, it is important to be good at inventory management. Having a specific storage area for each type of medication or drug can make your job easy and hassle-free. Tall man lettering can also be implemented to avoid medication errors.

When you enter patient data, leading and trailing zeros is an important concept for a pharmacy technician as it helps reduce overdosage errors. You must also avoid the use of abbreviations to avoid confusion. You can use barcodes and a scanner to save time and perform your tasks error-free.


As a pharmacy technician, it is your responsibility to notify the pharmacist whenever there is a need for a pharmacist’s intervention. In a pharmacy, a pharmacist’s intervention is required for the following:

  • Drug Utilization Review (DUR).
  • Adverse Drug Event (ADE).
  • Over-the-Counter (OTC) medication recommendations.
  • Therapeutic substitution.
  • Medication misuse.
  • Drug interactions.
  • Allergies.
  • Post-immunization follow-ups.


As a pharmacy technician, you need to maintain event reports. Whenever there is a medication error, you should report and document it both internally and externally for quality assurance purposes. These reports help in analyzing the error and improving the service offered by the pharmacy.

Event reports may include the following:

  • Medication errors.
  • Adverse effects of medications.
  • The integrity of the pharmaceutical product.
  • MedWatch.
  • Near miss – The occurrence of a medication error that did not affect the patient.
  • Root-Cause Analysis (RCA).


As a pharmacy technician, it is necessary to be vigilant when you are preparing prescription orders for patients. You should double-check before delivering it to the patient to avoid prescription errors as this could harm the patient.

The most common types of prescription errors are as follows:

  • Incorrect quantity of medications.
  • Abnormal dosage of medications.
  • Delivering medications to the wrong patient.
  • Selection of incorrect drugs.
  • Mistakes in the calculation of quantities.
  • Early refill of medications.


There are high chances of pharmacy personnel spreading infection or illness through direct or indirect contact with patients or medications. As a professional in the healthcare industry, it is necessary for you to maintain proper personal hygiene to avoid the spreading of infection or illness.

Here are some ways to maintain proper hygiene:

  • Wash your hands regularly.
  • Clean the spatulas and counting trays regularly before reusing them.
  • Use PPE.
  • Dust and clean all the equipment and storage racks regularly.
  • Clean pharmacy countertops regularly with appropriate products.

Wrapping Up

As an aspiring pharmacy technician, it is required for you to be aware of all the methods and practices in the industry to become a successful pharmacy technician in your state. You must also be responsible for the safety of your patients and make sure to offer quality products to your clients. The PTCB patient safety and quality assurance section can help you gain the required knowledge regarding your responsibilities in this domain.

If you are passionate about taking the Pharmacy Technician Certification Exam (PTCE), you can check out our free PTCB practice test to take your exam preparation to the next level. You can also check our PTCB study guide to learn more about the PTCB exam.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is a passing score on the PTCB?

A passing score on the PTCB exam averages about 1400. The passing score may range anywhere between 1000 and 1600. You can pass the PTCB exam if you correctly answer 66% of the questions.

How many questions do I need to get right on the PTCB?

On the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board (PTCB) exam, you must get at least 65 questions right out of the 90 questions correct on the exam.

What math is on the PTCB exam?

The PTCB math exam is essential for a pharmacy technician to pass the PTCB exam and practice as a pharmacy technician in a pharmacy. The PTCB math exam has 4 main components and they are weight, volume, time, and temperature.

Can you do self-study for the PTCB exam?

You can do self-study for the PTCB exam if you are someone who loves preparing for exams at your own pace without having to rush and cope with others. Self-study or online programs are flexible and offer you the opportunity to prepare for the exam at your own pace.

You can plan and prepare based on the 4 major knowledge domains you must know to pass the PTCB or ExCPT exam.

What practice tools are available for the PTCB?

If you are looking for practice tools for the PTCB exam, you can check out our free practice test to enhance your exam preparation. You can also check our PTCB study