Pharmacists are uniquely trained to provide guidance to patients in the selection of appropriate non-prescription therapy. Physicians in Qatar may not always recognize how pharmacists function in assuring safe medication use. Both these health professional groups come from heterogeneous training and experiences before migrating to the country and these backgrounds could influence collaborative patient care. Qatar Petroleum (QP), the largest private employer in the country, has developed a pharmacist-guided medication consulting service at their primary care clinics, but physician comfort with pharmacists recommending drug therapy is currently unknown. The objective of this study is to characterize physician perceptions of pharmacists and their roles in a primary care patient setting in Qatar.
This cross-sectional survey was developed following a comprehensive literature review and administered in English and Arabic. Consenting QP physicians were asked questions to assess experiences, comfort and expectations of pharmacist roles and abilities to provide medication-related advice and recommend and monitor therapies.
The median age of the 62 (77.5%) physicians who responded was between 40 and 50years old and almost two-third were men (64.5%). Fourteen different nationalities were represented. Physicians were more comfortable with pharmacist activities closely linked to drug products than responsibilities associated with monitoring and optimization of patient outcomes. Medication education (96.6%) and drug knowledge (90%) were practically unanimously recognized as abilities expected of pharmacists, but consultative roles, such as assisting in drug regimen design were less acknowledged. They proposed pharmacist spend more time with physicians attending joint meetings or education events to help advance acceptance of pharmacists in patient-centered care at this site.
Physicians had low comfort and expectations of patient-oriented pharmacist roles but were not threatened to learn more about these capabilities or explore enhanced collaboration in patient care.
Keywords: Physician, Perceptions, Pharmacists, Qatar