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1.  Do community pharmacists have the attitudes and knowledge to support evidence based self-management of low back pain? 
Background
In many countries, community pharmacists can be consulted without appointment in a large number of convenient locations. They are in an ideal position to give advice to patients at the onset of low back pain and also reinforce advice given by other healthcare professionals. There is little specific information about the quality of care provided in the pharmacy for people with back pain. The main objectives of this survey were to determine the attitudes, knowledge and reported practice of English pharmacists advising people who present with acute or chronic low back pain.
Methods
A questionnaire was designed for anonymous self-completion by pharmacists attending continuing education sessions. Demographic questions were designed to allow comparison with a national pharmacy workforce survey. Attitudes were measured with the Back Beliefs Questionnaire (BBQ) and questions based on the Working Backs Scotland campaign. Questions about the treatment of back pain in the community pharmacy were written (or adapted) to reflect and characterise the nature of practice. In response to two clinical vignettes, respondents were asked to select proposals that they would recommend in practice.
Results
335 responses from community pharmacists were analysed. Middle aged pharmacists, women, pharmacy managers and locums were over-represented compared to registration and workforce data. The mean (SD) BBQ score for the pharmacists was 31.37 (5.75), which was slightly more positive than in similar surveys of other groups. Those who had suffered from back pain seem to demonstrate more confidence (fewer negative feelings, more advice opportunities and better advice provision) in their perception of advice given in the pharmacy. Awareness of written information that could help to support practice was low. Reponses to the clinical vignettes were generally in line with the evidence base. Pharmacists expressed some caution about recommending activity. Most respondents said they would benefit from more education about back pain.
Conclusion
Those sampled generally expressed positive attitudes about back pain and were able to offer evidence based advice. Pharmacists may benefit from training to increase their ability and confidence to offer support for self-care in back pain. Further research would be useful to clarify the representativeness of the sample.
doi:10.1186/1471-2474-8-10
PMCID: PMC1796877  PMID: 17266748
2.  Management of acute diarrhea in children by community pharmacists in Lagos, Nigeria 
Pharmacy Practice  2014;12(1):376.
Background
Acute diarrhea in children leads to dehydration and death if not appropriately managed. World Health Organization (WHO) recommends treating diarrhea with oral rehydration therapy (ORT), fluids and foods. Proper management is hinged on accurate assessment of patients to identify the acute watery diarrhea.
Objective
To compare the knowledge and attitude of community pharmacists in the management of acute diarrhea in children with their observed practice.
Methods
This study was carried out using two instruments: structured self-administered questionnaire to assess knowledge and attitude of community pharmacists in the management of acute diarrhea in children and simulated patient visits to evaluate assessment of patients, recommendation of products and instructions on feeding and fluid intake. The simulated patient visits were done in 186 pharmacies in the city of Lagos, Nigeria.
Results
The study reveals that the knowledge and attitude of community pharmacists in the management of acute diarrhea in children was different from their observed practice. The difference was statistically significant (p<0.05). During the simulations, 23% carried out appropriate assessment before recommending any products, and 15% recommended ORT alone. Although information to the pharmacists indicated non-dysentery, non-cholera, acute watery diarrhea, antibiotics and antidiarrheals were irrationally recommended and these were the mainstay of symptoms’ management in practice. Questionnaire data revealed that 24% of pharmacists knew the correct instructions to give on food and fluid intake during diarrhea, whereas 8% followed WHO guideline on food and fluid intake during the visits.
Conclusions
Assessment of patients to determine acute diarrhea was inadequate. Observed practice in managing acute diarrhea in children was inappropriate and significantly different from their claims in the questionnaire. The recommendation of ORT was scanty and advice on food and fluid intake was inadequate and sometimes inappropriate. This study shows that only 15% of community pharmacists managed acute diarrhea in children according to the WHO guidelines.
PMCID: PMC3955866  PMID: 24644521
Diarrhea; Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Guideline Adherence; Patient Simulation; Nigeria
3.  Safe storage of methadone in the home - an audit of the effectiveness of safety information giving 
Background
Accidental poisoning by methadone occurs, particularly as a result of children ingesting a parent's methadone. Health care professionals have a responsibility to provide information and guidance to methadone users on safe storage of methadone. The objective of the study was to audit the effectiveness of information giving on the safety of methadone consumption, dose measurement and storage, and the effectiveness of sources of advice available for patients.
Methods
The study was undertaken prior to the introduction of a scheme for the supervised consumption of methadone, in the setting of an NHS Methadone clinic serving a district population of 490,000 in the UK. 185 consecutive patients attending a methadone clinic to collect a methadone prescription were the subject of an anonymous survey. Issues of safety of methadone consumption, storage and safety information provisions were assessed. A telephone survey of the community pharmacists dispensing the methadone covered the availability of measuring devices and provision of advice on safety was undertaken.
Results
Methadone was stored in a variety of locations, a cupboard being most frequent. 95 patients (60.1%) had children either living in or visiting their home. All stored their methadone in a bottle with a child resistant lid; the majority measured doses using either the container supplied by the pharmacist or a plastic measure. 126 patients (78%) confirmed that a pharmacist provided a measuring container on their first visit, 24 (15%) were given a measure on every visit to the pharmacist. Advice on safe storage was recalled by 30% of the patients, and advice on measuring methadone by 28%. Methadone was seen as potentially dangerous by 82% of the patients.
Conclusion
The risks resulting from unsafe storage of methadone may be reduced by daily instalment prescribing and provision of measuring containers on request. Recall of provision of information on safety issues is poor and the adoption of a standard policy on provision information should be seen as a priority. A re-audit of safety of storage of methadone is recommended following the introduction of a standard policy on information provision.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-2-9
PMCID: PMC1187912  PMID: 15987515
4.  Experiences of community pharmacists involved in the delivery of a specialist asthma service in Australia 
Background
The role of community pharmacists in disease state management has been mooted for some years. Despite a number of trials of disease state management services, there is scant literature into the engagement of, and with, pharmacists in such trials. This paper reports pharmacists’ feedback as providers of a Pharmacy Asthma Management Service (PAMS), a trial coordinated across four academic research centres in Australia in 2009. We also propose recommendations for optimal involvement of pharmacists in academic research.
Methods
Feedback about the pharmacists’ experiences was sought via their participation in either a focus group or telephone interview (for those unable to attend their scheduled focus group) at one of three time points. A semi-structured interview guide focused discussion on the pharmacists’ training to provide the asthma service, their interactions with health professionals and patients as per the service protocol, and the future for this type of service. Focus groups were facilitated by two researchers, and the individual interviews were shared between three researchers, with data transcribed verbatim and analysed manually.
Results
Of 93 pharmacists who provided the PAMS, 25 were involved in a focus group and seven via telephone interview. All pharmacists approached agreed to provide feedback. In general, the pharmacists engaged with both the service and research components, and embraced their roles as innovators in the trial of a new service. Some experienced challenges in the recruitment of patients into the service and the amount of research-related documentation, and collaborative patient-centred relationships with GPs require further attention. Specific service components, such as the spirometry, were well received by the pharmacists and their patients. Professional rewards included satisfaction from their enhanced practice, and pharmacists largely envisaged a future for the service.
Conclusions
The PAMS provided pharmacists an opportunity to become involved in an innovative service delivery model, supported by the researchers, yet trained and empowered to implement the clinical service throughout the trial period and beyond. The balance between support and independence appeared crucial in the pharmacists’ engagement with the trial. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive, while useful suggestions were identified for future academic trials.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-12-164
PMCID: PMC3439711  PMID: 22709371
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback
5.  Assessment of community pharmacists' counselling skills on headache management by using the simulated patient approach: a pilot study 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(1):3-7.
Background
Headache, or cephalalgia, is one of the 20 most disabling diseases in the world and affects a large portion of the world's population. People generally use over-the-counter medications to treat headaches and other minor symptoms. A pharmacist should help patients choose the most effective, safe, and convenient pharmacotherapeutic option.
Objective
To assess the counselling skills of community pharmacists for headache management by using the simulated patient approach.
Methods
A cross-sectional study was conducted from March 2010 to July 2010. Data were obtained from a convenience sample consisting of one pharmacist from each of the 24 participating community pharmacies. In order to evaluate the pharmacists' counselling skills, a simulated patient role played a standardized headache case requesting self-medication. The interactions of the simulated patient with the pharmacists were audiovisually recorded using a hidden micro camera, and these recordings were analysed using a validated questionnaire.
Results
Of the 24 evaluated pharmacists, 19 (79.1%) were women. Information was spontaneously provided by 15 (62.5%) pharmacists. At least one question was asked by the pharmacist to assess the signs and symptoms. Most pharmacists (n=17, 70.8%) recommended sodium dipyrone, either alone or in combination with other drugs. The most discussed items in the simulation visits were contraindications (n=17, 70.8%), indications (n=10, 41.6%), and drug administration times (n=8, 33.3%). None of the pharmacists recommended any non-pharmacological therapeutic alternatives. The overall impressions of the pharmacists' professional counselling skills ranged from poor to fair.
Conclusions
This study showed that the pharmacists' counselling skills and the guidance provided by the pharmacists to the simulated patient were insufficient for the satisfactory management of headache.
PMCID: PMC3780507  PMID: 24155843
Headache; Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Pharmacists; Patient Simulation; Brazil
6.  Effect of Household-Based Drinking Water Chlorination on Diarrhoea among Children under Five in Orissa, India: A Double-Blind Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(8):e1001497.
Sophie Boisson and colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial in Orissa, a state in southeast India, to evaluate the effect of household water treatment in preventing diarrheal illnesses in children aged under five years of age.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
Boiling, disinfecting, and filtering water within the home can improve the microbiological quality of drinking water among the hundreds of millions of people who rely on unsafe water supplies. However, the impact of these interventions on diarrhoea is unclear. Most studies using open trial designs have reported a protective effect on diarrhoea while blinded studies of household water treatment in low-income settings have found no such effect. However, none of those studies were powered to detect an impact among children under five and participants were followed-up over short periods of time. The aim of this study was to measure the effect of in-home water disinfection on diarrhoea among children under five.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a double-blind randomised controlled trial between November 2010 and December 2011. The study included 2,163 households and 2,986 children under five in rural and urban communities of Orissa, India. The intervention consisted of an intensive promotion campaign and free distribution of sodium dichloroisocyanurate (NaDCC) tablets during bi-monthly households visits. An independent evaluation team visited households monthly for one year to collect health data and water samples. The primary outcome was the longitudinal prevalence of diarrhoea (3-day point prevalence) among children aged under five. Weight-for-age was also measured at each visit to assess its potential as a proxy marker for diarrhoea. Adherence was monitored each month through caregiver's reports and the presence of residual free chlorine in the child's drinking water at the time of visit. On 20% of the total household visits, children's drinking water was assayed for thermotolerant coliforms (TTC), an indicator of faecal contamination. The primary analysis was on an intention-to-treat basis. Binomial regression with a log link function and robust standard errors was used to compare prevalence of diarrhoea between arms. We used generalised estimating equations to account for clustering at the household level. The impact of the intervention on weight-for-age z scores (WAZ) was analysed using random effect linear regression.
Over the follow-up period, 84,391 child-days of observations were recorded, representing 88% of total possible child-days of observation. The longitudinal prevalence of diarrhoea among intervention children was 1.69% compared to 1.74% among controls. After adjusting for clustering within household, the prevalence ratio of the intervention to control was 0.95 (95% CI 0.79–1.13). The mean WAZ was similar among children of the intervention and control groups (−1.586 versus −1.589, respectively). Among intervention households, 51% reported their child's drinking water to be treated with the tablets at the time of visit, though only 32% of water samples tested positive for residual chlorine. Faecal contamination of drinking water was lower among intervention households than controls (geometric mean TTC count of 50 [95% CI 44–57] per 100 ml compared to 122 [95% CI 107–139] per 100 ml among controls [p<0.001] [n = 4,546]).
Conclusions
Our study was designed to overcome the shortcomings of previous double-blinded trials of household water treatment in low-income settings. The sample size was larger, the follow-up period longer, both urban and rural populations were included, and adherence and water quality were monitored extensively over time. These results provide no evidence that the intervention was protective against diarrhoea. Low compliance and modest reduction in water contamination may have contributed to the lack of effect. However, our findings are consistent with other blinded studies of similar interventions and raise additional questions about the actual health impact of household water treatment under these conditions.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01202383
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Millennium Development Goal 7 calls for halving the proportion of the global population without sustainable access to safe drinking water between 1990 and 2015. Although this target was met in 2010, according to latest figures, 768 million people world-wide still rely on unimproved drinking water sources. Access to clean drinking water is integral to good health and a key strategy in reducing diarrhoeal illness: Currently, 1.3 million children aged less than five years die of diarrhoeal illnesses every year with a sixth of such deaths occurring in one country—India. Although India has recently made substantial progress in improving water supplies throughout the country, currently almost 90% of the rural population does not have a water connection to their house and drinking water supplies throughout the country are extensively contaminated with human waste. A strategy internationally referred to as Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage (HWTS), which involves people boiling, chlorinating, and filtering water at home, has been recommended by the World Health Organization and UNICEF to improve water quality at the point of delivery.
Why Was This Study Done?
The WHO and UNICEF strategy to promote HWTS is based on previous studies from low-income settings that found that such interventions could reduce diarrhoeal illnesses by between 30%–40%. However, these studies had several limitations including reporting bias, short follow up periods, and small sample sizes; and importantly, in blinded studies (in which both the study participants and researchers are unaware of which participants are receiving the intervention or the control) have found no evidence that HWTS is protective against diarrhoeal illnesses. So the researchers conducted a blinded study (a double-blind, randomized placebo-controlled trial) in Orissa, a state in southeast India, to address those shortcomings and evaluate the effect of household water treatment in preventing diarrhoeal illnesses in children under five years of age.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers conducted their study in 11 informal settlements (where the inhabitants do not benefit from public water or sewers) in the state's capital city and also in 20 rural villages. 2,163 households were randomized to receive the intervention—the promotion and free distribution of sodium dichloroisocyanurate (chlorine) disinfection tablets with instruction on how to use them—or placebo tablets that were similar in appearance and had the same effervescent base as the chlorine tablets. Trained field workers visited households every month for 12 months (between December 2010 and December 2011) to record whether any child had experienced diarrhoea in the previous three days (as reported by the primary care giver). The researchers tested compliance with the intervention by asking participants if they had treated the water and also by testing for chlorine in the water.
Using these methods, the researchers found that over the 12-month follow-up period, the longitudinal prevalence of diarrhoea among children in the intervention group was 1.69% compared to 1.74% in the control group, a non-significant finding (a finding that could have happened by chance). There was also no difference in diarrhoea prevalence among other household members in the two groups and no difference in weight for age z scores (a measurement of growth) between children in the two groups. The researchers also found that although just over half (51%) of households in the intervention group reported treating their water, on testing, only 32% of water samples tested positive for chlorine. Finally, the researchers found that water quality (as measured by thermotolerant coliforms, TTCs) was better in the intervention group than the control group.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings suggest that treating water with chlorine tablets has no effect in reducing the prevalence of diarrhoea in both children aged under five years and in other household members in Orissa, India. However, poor compliance was a major issue with only a third of households in the intervention group confirmed as treating their water with chlorine tablets. Furthermore, these findings are limited in that the prevalence of diarrhoea was lower than expected, which may have also reduced the power of detecting a potential effect of the intervention. Nevertheless, this study raises questions about the health impact of household water treatment and highlights the key challenge of poor compliance with public health interventions.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001497.
The website of the World Health Organization has a section dedicated to household water treatment and safe storage, including a network to promote the use of HWTS and a toolkit to measure HWTS
The Water Institute hosts the communications portal for the International Network on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001497
PMCID: PMC3747993  PMID: 23976883
7.  Patients’ perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacists’ role as health care provider in community pharmacy setting at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia 
Objectives
This study will provide guiding information about the population perception, views and satisfaction with pharmacist’s performance as health care provider in the community pharmacy setting in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.
Method
The study was conducted in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, from July through December 2010. A total of 125 community pharmacies in Riyadh city were randomly selected according to their geographical distribution (north, south, east, and west). They represent about 10–15% of all community pharmacies in the city. The questionnaire composed of 8 items about patients’ views and satisfaction with the pharmacists’ role in the current community pharmacy practice. The questionnaire was coded, checked for accuracy and analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences (SPSS) version 17.0 for Windows (SPSS Inc., Chicago, Illinois).
Results
The response rate was almost 85% where 2000 patients were approached and 1699 of them responded to our questionnaire. The majority of respondents is young adults and adults (82.8%), male (67.5%) and married (66.9%). Seventy one percent of respondents assured that community pharmacist is available in the working while only 37.3% of respondents perceived the pharmacist as a mere vendor. About 38% assured sou moto counseling by the pharmacist, 35% reported pharmacist plays an active role in their compliances to treatments, 43% acknowledged the role of pharmacist in solving medication related problems, 34% considered the pharmacist as a health awareness provider and 44.6% felt that pharmacist is indispensable and an effective part of the health care system.
Conclusion
The image and professional performance of community pharmacist are improving in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi patients show better satisfaction, perception and appreciation of the pharmacists’ role in the health care team. However, extra efforts should be paid to improve the clinical skills of the community pharmacists. Community pharmacists need to be able to reach out to patient, assess their hesitations and promptly offer solution which was appreciated by the patients as the survey indicates. They should play a pro-active role in becoming an effective and indispensable part of health care. Furthermore, they should be able to advice, guide, direct and persuade the patient to comply correct usage of drugs. Finally, community pharmacists should equip themselves with appropriate knowledge and competencies in order to tender efficient and outstanding pharmaceutical health care.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2012.05.007
PMCID: PMC3745196  PMID: 23960807
Community; Pharmacist; Satisfaction; Care; Drug; Perception
8.  Exploring successful community pharmacist-physician collaborative working relationships using mixed methods 
Background
Collaborative working relationships (CWRs) between community pharmacists and physicians may foster the provision of medication therapy management services, disease state management, and other patient care activities; however, pharmacists have expressed difficulty in developing such relationships. Additional work is needed to understand the specific pharmacist-physician exchanges that effectively contribute to the development of CWR. Data from successful pairs of community pharmacists and physicians may provide further insights into these exchange variables and expand research on models of professional collaboration.
Objective
To describe the professional exchanges that occurred between community pharmacists and physicians engaged in successful CWRs, using a published conceptual model and tool for quantifying the extent of collaboration.
Methods
A national pool of experts in community pharmacy practice identified community pharmacists engaged in CWRs with physicians. Five pairs of community pharmacists and physician colleagues participated in individual semistructured interviews, and 4 of these pairs completed the Pharmacist-Physician Collaborative Index (PPCI). Main outcome measures include quantitative (ie, scores on the PPCI) and qualitative information about professional exchanges within 3 domains found previously to influence relationship development: relationship initiation, trustworthiness, and role specification.
Results
On the PPCI, participants scored similarly on trustworthiness; however, physicians scored higher on relationship initiation and role specification. The qualitative interviews revealed that when initiating relationships, it was important for many pharmacists to establish open communication through face-to-face visits with physicians. Furthermore, physicians were able to recognize in these pharmacists a commitment for improved patient care. Trustworthiness was established by pharmacists making consistent contributions to care that improved patient outcomes over time. Open discussions regarding professional roles and an acknowledgment of professional norms (ie, physicians as decision makers) were essential.
Conclusions
The findings support and extend the literature on pharmacist-physician CWRs by examining the exchange domains of relationship initiation, trustworthiness, and role specification qualitatively and quantitatively among pairs of practitioners. Relationships appeared to develop in a manner consistent with a published model for CWRs, including the pharmacist as relationship initiator, the importance of communication during early stages of the relationship, and an emphasis on high-quality pharmacist contributions.
doi:10.1016/j.sapharm.2009.11.008
PMCID: PMC3004536  PMID: 21111388
Pharmacists; Physicians; Collaborative working relationships; Pharmacist-physician collaborative index; Community
9.  Societal perspectives on community pharmacy services in West Bank - Palestine 
Pharmacy Practice  2012;10(1):17-24.
Background
Understanding the public's view of professional competency is extremely important; however little has been reported on the public's perception of community pharmacists in Palestine
Objective
To determine the perception of Palestinian consumers of the community pharmacist and the services they offer.
Methods
This project used the survey methodology administered by structured interviews to consumers who attended the 39 randomly selected pharmacies, in six main cities in Palestine. The questionnaire had range of structured questions covering: Consumers' patronage patterns, consumers’ interaction with community pharmacists, consumers’ views on how the pharmacist dealt with personal health issues, procedure with regard to handling private consultations.
Results
Of 1,017 consumers approached, 790 consumers completed the questionnaire (77.7 %). Proximity to home and presence of knowledgeable pharmacist were the main reasons for patients to visit the same pharmacy. Physicians were identified as the preferred source of advice by 57.2% and pharmacists by 23.8%. Only 17% of respondents considered pharmacists as health professionals who know a lot about drugs and are concerned about and committed to caring for the public. In addition, 49% indicated that pharmacists spoke more quietly cross the counter during counseling and almost one third reported that the pharmacist used a private area within the pharmacy. The majority of respondents would be happy to receive different extended services in the community pharmacy like blood pressure monitoring.
Conclusions
Palestinian consumers have a positive overall perception of community pharmacists and the services they offer. Awareness should be created amongst the public about the role of pharmacist and the added value they can provide as health care professional. There is a need to consider privacy when giving patient counseling to increase user satisfaction.
PMCID: PMC3798164  PMID: 24155812
Patient Satisfaction; Pharmacists; Professional Role; Middle East
10.  Using scenarios to test the appropriateness of pharmacist prescribing in asthma management 
Pharmacy Practice  2014;12(1):390.
Objective
To explore the potential for community pharmacist prescribing in terms of usefulness, pharmacists’ confidence, and appropriateness, in the context of asthma management.
Methods
Twenty community pharmacists were recruited using convenience sampling from a group of trained practitioners who had already delivered asthma services. These pharmacists were asked to complete a scenario-based questionnaire (9 scenarios) modelled on information from real patients. Pharmacist interventions were independently reviewed and rated on their appropriateness according to the Respiratory Therapeutic Guidelines (TG) by three expert researchers.
Results
In seven of nine scenarios (78%), the most common prescribing intervention made by pharmacists agreed with TG recommendations. Although the prescribing intervention was appropriate in the majority of cases, the execution of such interventions was not in line with guidelines (i.e. dosage or frequency) in the majority of scenarios. Due to this, only 47% (76/162) of the interventions overall were considered appropriate. However, pharmacists were deemed to be often following common clinical practice for asthma prescribing. Therefore 81% (132/162) of prescribing interventions were consistent with clinical practice, which is often not guideline driven, indicating a need for specific training in prescribing according to guidelines. Pharmacists reported that they were confident in making prescribing interventions and that this would be very useful in their management of the patients in the scenarios.
Conclusions
Community pharmacists may be able to prescribe asthma medications appropriately to help achieve good outcomes for their patients. However, further training in the guidelines for prescribing are required if pharmacists are to support asthma management in this way.
PMCID: PMC3955869  PMID: 24644524
Asthma; Drug Prescriptions; Community Pharmacy Services; Professional Practice; Professional Role; Patient Simulation; Australia
11.  Stakeholder experiences with general practice pharmacist services: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open  2013;3(9):e003214.
Objectives
To explore general practice staff, pharmacist and patient experiences with pharmacist services in Australian general practice clinics within the Pharmacists in Practice Study.
Design
Qualitative study.
Setting
Two general practice clinics in Melbourne, Australia, in which pharmacists provided medication reviews, patient and staff education, medicines information and quality assurance services over a 6-month period.
Participants
Patients, practice staff and pharmacists.
Method
Semi-structured telephone interviews with patients, focus groups with practice staff and semi-structured interviews and periodic narrative reports with practice pharmacists. Data were analysed thematically and theoretical frameworks used to explain the findings.
Results
34 participants were recruited: 18 patients, 14 practice staff (9 general practitioners, 4 practice nurses, 1 practice manager) and 2 practice pharmacists. Five main themes emerged: environment; professional relationships and integration; pharmacist attributes; staff and patient benefits and logistical challenges. Participants reported that colocation and the interdisciplinary environment of general practice enabled better communication and collaboration compared to traditional community and consultant pharmacy services. Participants felt that pharmacists needed to possess certain attributes to ensure successful integration, including being personable and proactive. Attitudinal, professional and logistical barriers were identified but were able to be overcome. The findings were explained using D'Amour's structuration model of collaboration and Roger's diffusion of innovation theory.
Conclusions
This is the first qualitative study to explore the experiences of general practice staff, pharmacists and patients on their interactions within the Australian general practice environment. Participants were receptive of colocated pharmacist services, and various barriers and facilitators to integration were identified. Future research should investigate the feasibility and sustainability of general practice pharmacist roles.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2013-003214
PMCID: PMC3773653  PMID: 24030867
Primary Care; Qualitative Research; Health Services Administration & Management
12.  An embedded longitudinal multi-faceted qualitative evaluation of a complex cluster randomized controlled trial aiming to reduce clinically important errors in medicines management in general practice 
Trials  2012;13:78.
Background
There is a need to shed light on the pathways through which complex interventions mediate their effects in order to enable critical reflection on their transferability. We sought to explore and understand key stakeholder accounts of the acceptability, likely impact and strategies for optimizing and rolling-out a successful pharmacist-led information technology-enabled (PINCER) intervention, which substantially reduced the risk of clinically important errors in medicines management in primary care.
Methods
Data were collected at two geographical locations in central England through a combination of one-to-one longitudinal semi-structured telephone interviews (one at the beginning of the trial and another when the trial was well underway), relevant documents, and focus group discussions following delivery of the PINCER intervention. Participants included PINCER pharmacists, general practice staff, researchers involved in the running of the trial, and primary care trust staff. PINCER pharmacists were interviewed at three different time-points during the delivery of the PINCER intervention. Analysis was thematic with diffusion of innovation theory providing a theoretical framework.
Results
We conducted 52 semi-structured telephone interviews and six focus group discussions with 30 additional participants. In addition, documentary data were collected from six pharmacist diaries, along with notes from four meetings of the PINCER pharmacists and feedback meetings from 34 practices. Key findings that helped to explain the success of the PINCER intervention included the perceived importance of focusing on prescribing errors to all stakeholders, and the credibility and appropriateness of a pharmacist-led intervention to address these shortcomings. Central to this was the face-to-face contact and relationship building between pharmacists and a range of practice staff, and pharmacists’ explicitly designated role as a change agent. However, important concerns were identified about the likely sustainability of this new model of delivering care, in the absence of an appropriate support network for pharmacists and career development pathways.
Conclusions
This embedded qualitative inquiry has helped to understand the complex organizational and social environment in which the trial was undertaken and the PINCER intervention was delivered. The longitudinal element has given insight into the dynamic changes and developments over time. Medication errors and ways to address these are high on stakeholders’ agendas. Our results further indicate that pharmacists were, because of their professional standing and skill-set, able to engage with the complex general practice environment and able to identify and manage many clinically important errors in medicines management. The transferability of the PINCER intervention approach, both in relation to other prescribing errors and to other practices, is likely to be high.
doi:10.1186/1745-6215-13-78
PMCID: PMC3503703  PMID: 22682095
Qualitative evaluation; Randomized controlled trial; Pharmacist intervention; Primary care
13.  Understanding public trust in services provided by community pharmacists relative to those provided by general practitioners: a qualitative study 
BMJ Open  2012;2(3):e000939.
Objectives
To apply sociological theories to understand public trust in extended services provided by community pharmacists relative to those provided by general practitioners (GPs).
Design
Qualitative study involving focus groups with members of the public.
Setting
The West of Scotland.
Participants
26 purposively sampled members of the public were involved in one of five focus groups. The groups were composed to represent known groups of users and non-users of community pharmacy, namely mothers with young children, seniors and men.
Results
Trust was seen as being crucial in healthcare settings. Focus group discussions revealed that participants were inclined to draw unfavourable comparisons between pharmacists and GPs. Importantly, participants' trust in GPs was greater than that in pharmacists. Participants considered pharmacists to be primarily involved in medicine supply, and awareness of the pharmacist's extended role was low. Participants were often reluctant to trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar services, particularly those perceived to be ‘high risk’. Numerous system-based factors were identified, which reinforce patient trust and confidence in GPs, including GP registration and appointment systems, GPs' expert/gatekeeper role and practice environments. Our data indicate that the nature and context of public interactions with GPs fostered familiarity with a specific GP or practice, which allowed interpersonal trust to develop. By contrast, participants' exposure to community pharmacists was limited. Additionally, a good understanding of the GPs' level of training and role promoted confidence.
Conclusion
Current UK initiatives, which aim to implement a range of pharmacist-led services, are undermined by lack of public trust. It seems improbable that the public will trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar services, which are perceived to be ‘high risk’, unless health systems change in a way that promotes trust in pharmacists. This may be achieved by increasing the quality and quantity of patient interactions with pharmacists and gaining GP support for extended pharmacy services.
Article summary
Article focus
Why do the public access GPs for services, which are also available in community pharmacies?
What sort of services do the public trust community pharmacists to deliver?
What factors underpin greater public trust in GP services relative to community pharmacy services?
Key messages
Public trust in GPs was greater than that in pharmacists; many were reluctant to trust pharmacists to deliver unfamiliar ‘high-risk’ services.
Numerous system-based factors reinforce public trust and confidence in GPs, including GP registration and appointment systems, GPs' expert/gatekeeper role and practice environments.
This study suggests that increasing the quality and quantity of patient interactions with pharmacists and gaining GP support for extended pharmacy services could build public trust.
Strengths and limitations of this study
This is the first study to apply sociological perspectives of trust to understand public perspectives of community pharmacy.
The qualitative approach has allowed us to gather in-depth information in an under-researched area.
The study methodology limits generalisation, although theme saturation was achieved and the context of the study is explicitly defined.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2012-000939
PMCID: PMC3358628  PMID: 22586286
14.  The use of opioids at the end of life: knowledge level of pharmacists and cooperation with physicians 
Purpose
What is the level of knowledge of pharmacists concerning pain management and the use of opioids at the end of life, and how do they cooperate with physicians?
Methods
A written questionnaire was sent to a sample of community and hospital pharmacists in the Netherlands. The questionnaire was completed by 182 pharmacists (response rate 45%).
Results
Pharmacists were aware of the most basic knowledge about opioids. Among the respondents, 29% erroneously thought that life-threatening respiratory depression was a danger with pain control, and 38% erroneously believed that opioids were the preferred drug for palliative sedation. One in three responding pharmacists did not think his/her theoretical knowledge was sufficient to provide advice on pain control. Most pharmacists had working agreements with physicians on euthanasia (81%), but fewer had working agreements on palliative sedation (46%) or opioid therapy (25%). Based on the experience of most of responding pharmacists (93%), physicians were open to unsolicited advice on opioid prescriptions. The majority of community pharmacists (94%) checked opioid prescriptions most often only after dispensing, while it was not a common practice among the majority of hospital pharmacists (68%) to check prescriptions at all.
Conclusions
Although the basic knowledge of most pharmacists was adequate, based on the responses to the questionnaire, there seems to be a lack of knowledge in several areas, which may hamper pharmacists in improving the quality of care when giving advice to physicians and preventing or correcting mistakes if necessary. If education is improved, a more active role of the pharmacist may improve the quality of end-of-life pharmacotherapy.
doi:10.1007/s00228-010-0901-7
PMCID: PMC3016212  PMID: 20853103
Opioids; Pain management; Pharmacists; Knowledge; Education; Multidisciplinary cooperation
15.  Effectiveness of visits from community pharmacists for patients with heart failure: HeartMed randomised controlled trial 
BMJ : British Medical Journal  2007;334(7603):1098.
Objective To test whether a drug review and symptom self management and lifestyle advice intervention by community pharmacists could reduce hospital admissions or mortality in heart failure patients.
Design Randomised controlled trial.
Setting Home based intervention in heart failure patients.
Participants 293 patients diagnosed with heart failure were included (149 intervention, 144 control) after an emergency admission.
Intervention Two home visits by one of 17 community pharmacists within two and eight weeks of discharge. Pharmacists reviewed drugs and gave symptom self management and lifestyle advice. Controls received usual care.
Main outcome measures The primary outcome was total hospital readmissions at six months. Secondary outcomes included mortality and quality of life (Minnesota living with heart failure questionnaire and EQ-5D).
Results Primary outcome data were available for 291 participants (99%). 136 (91%) intervention patients received one or two visits. 134 admissions occurred in the intervention group compared with 112 in the control group (rate ratio=1.15, 95% confidence interval 0.89 to 1.48; P=0.28, Poisson model). 30 intervention patients died compared with 24 controls (hazard ratio=1.18, 0.69 to 2.03; P=0.54). Although EQ-5D scores favoured the intervention group, Minnesota living with heart failure questionnaire scores favoured controls; neither difference was statistically significant.
Conclusion This community pharmacist intervention did not lead to reductions in hospital admissions in contrast to those found in trials of specialist nurse led interventions in heart failure. Given that heart failure accounts for 5% of hospital admissions, these results present a problem for policy makers who are faced with a shortage of specialist provision and have hoped that skilled community pharmacists could produce the same benefits.
Trial registration number ISRCTN59427925.
doi:10.1136/bmj.39164.568183.AE
PMCID: PMC1877883  PMID: 17452390
16.  HIV-1 Drug Resistance Emergence among Breastfeeding Infants Born to HIV-Infected Mothers during a Single-Arm Trial of Triple-Antiretroviral Prophylaxis for Prevention of Mother-To-Child Transmission: A Secondary Analysis 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(3):e1000430.
Analysis of a substudy of the Kisumu breastfeeding trial by Clement Zeh and colleagues reveals the emergence of HIV drug resistance in HIV-positive infants born to HIV-infected mothers treated with antiretroviral drugs.
Background
Nevirapine and lamivudine given to mothers are transmitted to infants via breastfeeding in quantities sufficient to have biologic effects on the virus; this may lead to an increased risk of a breastfed infant's development of resistance to maternal antiretrovirals. The Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), a single-arm open-label prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission (PMTCT) trial, assessed the safety and efficacy of zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir given to HIV-infected women from 34 wk gestation through 6 mo of breastfeeding. Here, we present findings from a KiBS trial secondary analysis that evaluated the emergence of maternal ARV-associated resistance among 32 HIV-infected breastfed infants.
Methods and Findings
All infants in the cohort were tested for HIV infection using DNA PCR at multiple study visits during the 24 mo of the study, and plasma RNA viral load for all HIV-PCR–positive infants was evaluated retrospectively. Specimens from mothers and infants with viral load >1,000 copies/ml were tested for HIV drug resistance mutations. Overall, 32 infants were HIV infected by 24 mo of age, and of this group, 24 (75%) infants were HIV infected by 6 mo of age. Of the 24 infants infected by 6 mo, nine were born to mothers on a nelfinavir-based regimen, whereas the remaining 15 were born to mothers on a nevirapine-based regimen. All infants were also given single-dose nevirapine within 48 hours of birth. We detected genotypic resistance mutations in none of eight infants who were HIV-PCR positive by 2 wk of age (specimens from six infants were not amplifiable), for 30% (6/20) at 6 wk, 63% (14/22) positive at 14 wk, and 67% (16/24) at 6 mo post partum. Among the 16 infants with resistance mutations by 6 mo post partum, the common mutations were M184V and K103N, conferring resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine, respectively. Genotypic resistance was detected among 9/9 (100%) and 7/15 (47%) infected infants whose mothers were on nelfinavir and nevirapine, respectively. No mutations were detected among the eight infants infected after the breastfeeding period (age 6 mo).
Conclusions
Emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants occurred between 2 wk and 6 mo post partum, most likely because of exposure to maternal ARV drugs through breast milk. Our findings may impact the choice of regimen for ARV treatment of HIV-infected breastfeeding mothers and their infected infants.
Trial Registration
ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00146380
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Globally, more than 2 million children are infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS), and half a million children are newly infected every year. These infections are mainly the result of mother-to-child transmission (MTCT) of HIV during pregnancy, labor and delivery, or through breastfeeding. MTCT can be greatly reduced by treating HIV-positive mothers and their babies with antiretroviral drugs (ARVs). Without ARVs, up to half of babies born to HIV-positive mothers become infected with HIV. This rate of transmission falls to below 5% if a combination of three ARVs is given to the mother throughout pregnancy. Unfortunately, this triple-ARV therapy is too expensive for use in the resource-limited countries where most MTCT occurs. Instead, many such countries have introduced simpler, shorter ARV regimens such as a daily dose of zidovudine (a nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NRTI) given to HIV-positive women during late pregnancy coupled with single-dose nevirapine (a non-nucleoside reverse transcriptase inhibitor or NNRTI) at the onset of labor, zidovudine and lamivudine (another NRTI) during labor and delivery, and single-dose nevirapine given to the baby at birth.
Why Was This Study Done?
More than 95% of HIV-exposed children are born in resource-limited settings where breastfeeding is the norm and is crucial for child survival even though it poses a risk of HIV transmission. Consequently, several recent studies have investigated whether MTCT can be further reduced by giving the mother ARVs while she is breastfeeding. In the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study (KiBS), for example, researchers assessed the effects of giving zidovudine, lamivudine, and either nevirapine or nelfinavir (a protease inhibitor) to HIV-infected women from 34 weeks of pregnancy through 6 months of breastfeeding. The results of KiBS indicate that this approach might be a safe, feasible way to reduce MTCT (see the accompanying paper by Thomas and colleagues). However, low amounts of nevirapine and lamivudine are transferred from mother to infant in breast milk and this exposure to ARVs could induce the development of resistance to ARVs among HIV-infected infants. In this KiBS substudy, the researchers investigate whether HIV drug resistance emerged in any of the HIV-positive infants in the parent study.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
In KiBS, 32 infants were HIV-positive at 24 months old; 24 were HIV-positive at 6 months old when their mothers stopped taking ARVs and when breastfeeding was supposed to stop. The researchers analyzed blood samples taken from these infants at various ages and from their mothers for the presence of HIV drug resistance mutations (DNA changes that make HIV resistant to killing by ARVs). They detected no resistance mutations in samples taken from 2-week old HIV-positive infants or from the infants who became infected after the age of 6 months. However, they found resistance mutations in a third and two-thirds of samples taken from 6-week and 6-month old HIV-positive infants, respectively. The commonest mutations conferred resistance to lamivudine and nevirapine. Moreover, resistance mutations were present in samples taken from all the HIV-positive infants whose mothers who had received nelfinavir but in only half those taken from infants whose mothers who had received nevirapine. Finally, most of the mothers of HIV-positive infants had no HIV drug resistance mutations, and only one mother-infant pair had an overlapping pattern of HIV drug resistance mutations.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, in this KiBS substudy, the emergence of HIV drug resistance mutations in HIV-infected infants whose mothers were receiving ARVs occurred between 2 weeks and 6 months after birth. The pattern of mutations suggests that drug resistance most likely arose through exposure of the infants to low levels of ARVs in breast milk rather than through MTCT of drug-resistant virus. These findings need confirming but suggest that infants exposed to ARVs through breast milk—a situation that may become increasingly common given the reduction in MTCT seen in KiBS and other similar trials—should be carefully monitored for HIV infection. Providers should consider the mothers' regimen when choosing treatment for infants who are found to be HIV-infected despite maternal triple drug prophylaxis. Infants exposed to a maternal regimen with NNRTI drugs should receive first-line therapy with lopinavir/ritonavir, a protease inhibitor. The significance of the NRTI mutations such as M184V with regard to response to therapy needs further evaluation. The M184V mutation may result in hypersensitization to other NRTI drugs and delay or reverse zidovudine resistance. Given the limited availability of alternative drugs for infants in resource-limited settings, provision of the standard WHO-recommended first-line NRTI backbone, which includes 3TC, with enhanced monitoring of the infant to ensure virologic suppression, could be considered. Such an approach should reduce both illness and morbidity among infants who become HIV positive through breastfeeding.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/ 10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430.
The accompanying PLoS Medicine Research article by Thomas and colleagues describes the primary findings of the Kisumu Breastfeeding Study
Information is available from the US National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases on HIV infection and AIDS
HIV InSite has comprehensive information on HIV/AIDS
Information is available from Avert, an international AIDS charity, on many aspects of HIV/AIDS, including information on children, HIV, and AIDS and on preventing mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in English and Spanish)
UNICEF also has information about children and HIV and AIDS (in several languages)
The World Health organization has information on mother-to-child transmission of HIV (in several languages), and guidance on the use of ARVs for preventing MTCT
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000430
PMCID: PMC3066134  PMID: 21468304
17.  Awareness of the need for safe storage of Methadone at home is not improved by the use of protocols on recording information giving 
Background
Methadone is a synthetic, narcotic analgesic used in the treatment of drug misuse. Tragedies involving children being poisoned by the accidental ingestion of methadone are no longer a rare occurrence. Following an audit of the effectiveness of the provision and recall of information to patients attending an NHS Methadone Clinic a protocol was introduced to ensure that staff documented the provision of such information and patients gave a written confirmation that they had received the information.
Methods
The study was undertaken in the setting of an NHS methadone clinic with the aim of re- auditing the storage of methadone at home following the introduction of the new protocols. 174 patients completed an anonymous questionnaire regarding where they store methadone at home and whether they recall being given advice about safe storage. Community pharmacists were contacted by telephone to assess the level of advice given to methadone patients regarding safety.
Results
Only 49 (28.2%) patients recalled being given advice about safe storage, 24 (13.8%) recalled that information was provided by clinic staff. 170 (97.7%) patients regard methadone as being dangerous. (28.2%). Methadone is most commonly stored in a cupboard (37.9%). All methadone is dispensed in a bottle with a child resistant cap on it. All patients reported they stored their methadone in the original bottle provided by the pharmacist.
Conclusion
Recall of information on safety issues is very poor. Provision of written as well as verbal information is needed. The use of printed safety information cards which patients can take away for future reference may be of use. It is the responsibility of health professionals to ensure they provide information and advice to methadone users on the safe storage of their methadone at home.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-5-15
PMCID: PMC2390539  PMID: 18447933
18.  STD management by private pharmacies in Hanoi: practice and knowledge of drug sellers 
Sexually Transmitted Infections  2000;76(4):299-302.
Background: Prompt treatment of sexually transmitted infections may reduce the incidence of HIV/AIDS infections. With health sector reforms private pharmacies are increasingly the first and only contact with health delivery services.
Objectives: To find out how patients with STDs are treated at private pharmacies in Hanoi, and what drug sellers know about STD management.
Methods: Five simulated clients were taught to adopt a scenario stating that their friend had a urethral discharge. They visited 60 randomly selected private pharmacies in urban Hanoi and noted all questions asked, advice offered, and treatment given. Afterwards interviewers administered a semistructured questionnaire to all people working in the 60 pharmacies.
Results: Drug treatment was given in 84% of the 297 encounters averaging 1.5 drugs and 1.2 antibiotics per encounter. Quinolones were given 188 times. No dispensing was adequate for chlamydia or was in accordance with the national guidelines. No questions were asked in 55% of encounters and no advice was given in 61%. Questions on sexual activity were asked in 23% (69) of cases and about the health of the partner twice (1%). Advice to practise safe sex was given in 1% of encounters and for the partner to seek treatment only once. Of 69 questionnaires administered 51% said they would refer to a doctor, 16% said they would ask about the sexual activity 1% said they would ask about the health of the partner, 7% said they would advise using a condom, and 1% advised telling the partner to seek treatment. Even after prompting, 61% would ask no questions and 80% would give no advice.
Conclusions: Even though 74% of pharmacists and drug sellers know that they should not treat STD patients, 84% actually did. None gave syndromically correct treatment. In both the questionnaire and during the simulated client methods, numbers advising on partner notification and condom use were very poor. Educational or peer awareness interventions are urgently needed among private pharmacists in Vietnam.
Key Words: sexually transmitted diseases; private pharmacies; simulated client methods
doi:10.1136/sti.76.4.299
PMCID: PMC1744190  PMID: 11026888
19.  A Guided Interview Process to Improve Student Pharmacists' Identification of Drug Therapy Problems 
Objective
To measure agreement between advanced pharmacy practice experience students using a guided interview process and experienced clinical pharmacists using standard practices to identify drug therapy problems.
Methods
Student pharmacists enrolled in an advanced pharmacy practice experience (APPE) and clinical pharmacists conducted medication therapy management interviews to identify drug therapy problems in elderly patients recruited from the community. Student pharmacists used a guided interview tool, while clinical pharmacists' interviews were conducted using their usual and customary practices. Student pharmacists also were surveyed to determine their perceptions of the interview tool.
Results
Fair to moderate agreement was observed on student and clinical pharmacists' identification of 4 of 7 drug therapy problems. Of those, agreement was significantly higher than chance for 3 drug therapy problems (adverse drug reaction, dosage too high, and needs additional drug therapy) and not significant for 1 (unnecessary drug therapy). Students strongly agreed that the interview tool was useful but agreed less strongly on recommending its use in practice.
Conclusions
The guided interview process served as a useful teaching aid to assist student pharmacists to identify drug therapy problems.
PMCID: PMC3049657  PMID: 21451770
guided interview; drug therapy; advanced pharmacy practice experience; interview; medication therapy management
20.  Self-medication in Poland: the pharmacist’s advisory role in Warsaw 
Background
Easy access favours the informative role that pharmacists play in Poland with regard to the proper use of medicinal products as well as preventing illness and promoting health.
Objective
The aim of the present study was to define situations in which patients ask a pharmacist for advice and to identify the most important factors that affect the patients’ decisions in seeking advice from a pharmacist.
Method
n all, 101 patients (69 women, 32 men) aged 19–67 years participated in the study. The study was conducted using a structured interview research method. Patients were asked to answer a set of closed-ended questions related to their habits regarding the purchase of medicines and the factors that affected their decision to seek the advice of a pharmacist.
Main outcome measure
Factors determining the choice to contact a pharmacy.
Results
Patients seldom asked pharmacists for advice: 77 of the patients “rarely” or “never” went to a pharmacy to consult the pharmacist. When patients did ask the pharmacist for advice, it was mainly concerning the choice of over-the-counter medicines. The most important reason for patients visiting a pharmacy for advice was the large number of pharmacies in Poland and their ease of access; the long queues of people in busy pharmacies and the lack of confidentiality in the pharmacy were considered negative factors.
Conclusion
The current advisory role of pharmacists in Poland seems of minimal importance to the public.
doi:10.1007/s11096-012-9734-z
PMCID: PMC3615165  PMID: 23225095
Counselling; Health behaviour; Over-the-counter medicines; Self-medication
21.  The impact of a pharmacist assisted clinic upon medication adherence and quality of life in mental health patients 
Pharmacy Practice  2011;9(3):122-127.
Objective
To determine if a pharmacist assisted psychiatric clinic would improve adherence to medications and quality of life over 6 months. The primary study endpoints were the change from baseline in Medication Adherence Rating Scale (MARS), Brief Evaluation of Medication Influences and Beliefs (BEMIB), World Health Organization Quality of Life - BREF (WHOQOL-BREF) scales as well as hospitalizations and emergency room visits. Secondary endpoints included metabolic and physiologic parameters.
Methods
A prospective, single-center study conducted at an outpatient psychiatric clinic. Subjects were required to attend 3 clinic visits (baseline, 3 and 6 months) with the pharmacist. Subject and medication histories were obtained at each visit. Subjects’ records within the local health system were reviewed for emergency room visits and hospitalizations. Metabolic parameters were assessed at each visit.
Results
Twenty-seven subjects enrolled and twenty subjects completed. Total MARS score at baseline and study end were 7.90 and 8.65, respectively. At baseline, 10 (50%) were nonadherent based on the BEMIB and 9 (45%) were nonadherent at 6 months. Statistically significant improvements were seen in 2 domains of the WHOQOL-BREF. Reductions in both ER visits and hospitalizations were achieved. There were significant improvements in total cholesterol and LDL.
Conclusions
Improvements were seen in two domains of the WHOQOL-BREF – physical capacity and psychological well-being over the 6 month period. While improvements were seen in various rating scales, due to small sample sizes, these were insignificant improvements. Reductions in hospitalizations and ER visits were also seen during the study and up to 6 months post study. Statistically significant improvements were also seen in both total cholesterol and LDL. The lack of improvement in many of the study outcomes reflects the difficulty of the mental health population to adhere to treatment recommendations; but also underscores the need for continued research in this area. This pilot demonstrates the pharmacist’s ability to provide comprehensive medication management services to the psychiatric outpatient.
PMCID: PMC3870170  PMID: 24367465
Mental Health; Pharmacists; Medication Adherence; Quality of Life; United States
22.  Attitude and perception of patients and health care practitioners toward oral sustained release dosage forms in Palestine 
Aim
To evaluate the knowledge of health professionals in Palestine regarding the advantages of sustained release dosage forms (SRDFs) over conventional therapy.
Methods
Data were gathered from a questionnaire that was handed out to community pharmacists, physicians and patients. Pharmaceutical industry decision makers were enrolled in this study. Data were analyzed using the SPSS.
Results
Pharmacists (92.9%) and 89.2% of physicians thought that SRDFs improve patient compliance. 81.5% of pharmacists and 77% of physicians were in agreement regarding the capacity of SRDFs to maintain therapeutic activity during night. In this study, 81.5% of pharmacists and 81% of physicians believed that SRDFs provide further advantage with psychiatric patients who forget to take their medications. Pharmacists (63.1%) and only 63.5% of physicians believed that SRDFs yield a time saving for nurses who use SRDFs in hospital. Only 45.3% of physicians and 43.4% of pharmacists thought that SRDFs result in cost saving due to better disease management. Pharmacists (95.2%) and 95.9% of physicians agreed that SRDFs could be the right choice for faith patient’s who must take their medication during the month of Ramadan. Pharmacists (66.7%) and 50.7% of physicians recognize that SRDFs may be unsafe if they are improperly formulated. Bad swallowing was also recognized as inconveniences of SRDFs by 67.9% of pharmacists and 57.3% of physicians. Given the above advantages, 75% of patients showed economical problems regarding the cost of the single course therapy of SRDFs and 100% of interviewed patients were enthusiastic about the advantage of SRDFs during Ramadan.
Conclusion
The advantages of SRDFs are not completely understood by Palestinian health professionals. Pharmaceutical industries should pay more attention to the development and advertising of SRDFs due to the valuable advantages of these dosage forms.
doi:10.1016/j.jsps.2010.07.005
PMCID: PMC3731029  PMID: 23960735
Sustained release dosage forms; Ramadan; Patient compliance
23.  A Multifaceted Intervention to Implement Guidelines and Improve Admission Paediatric Care in Kenyan District Hospitals: A Cluster Randomised Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2011;8(4):e1001018.
Philip Ayieko and colleagues report the outcomes of a cluster-randomized trial carried out in eight Kenyan district hospitals evaluating the effects of a complex intervention involving improved training and supervision for clinicians. They found a higher performance of hospitals assigned to the complex intervention on a variety of process of care measures, as compared to those receiving the control intervention.
Background
In developing countries referral of severely ill children from primary care to district hospitals is common, but hospital care is often of poor quality. However, strategies to change multiple paediatric care practices in rural hospitals have rarely been evaluated.
Methods and Findings
This cluster randomized trial was conducted in eight rural Kenyan district hospitals, four of which were randomly assigned to a full intervention aimed at improving quality of clinical care (evidence-based guidelines, training, job aides, local facilitation, supervision, and face-to-face feedback; n = 4) and the remaining four to control intervention (guidelines, didactic training, job aides, and written feedback; n = 4). Prespecified structure, process, and outcome indicators were measured at baseline and during three and five 6-monthly surveys in control and intervention hospitals, respectively. Primary outcomes were process of care measures, assessed at 18 months postbaseline.
In both groups performance improved from baseline. Completion of admission assessment tasks was higher in intervention sites at 18 months (mean = 0.94 versus 0.65, adjusted difference 0.54 [95% confidence interval 0.05–0.29]). Uptake of guideline recommended therapeutic practices was also higher within intervention hospitals: adoption of once daily gentamicin (89.2% versus 74.4%; 17.1% [8.04%–26.1%]); loading dose quinine (91.9% versus 66.7%, 26.3% [−3.66% to 56.3%]); and adequate prescriptions of intravenous fluids for severe dehydration (67.2% versus 40.6%; 29.9% [10.9%–48.9%]). The proportion of children receiving inappropriate doses of drugs in intervention hospitals was lower (quinine dose >40 mg/kg/day; 1.0% versus 7.5%; −6.5% [−12.9% to 0.20%]), and inadequate gentamicin dose (2.2% versus 9.0%; −6.8% [−11.9% to −1.6%]).
Conclusions
Specific efforts are needed to improve hospital care in developing countries. A full, multifaceted intervention was associated with greater changes in practice spanning multiple, high mortality conditions in rural Kenyan hospitals than a partial intervention, providing one model for bridging the evidence to practice gap and improving admission care in similar settings.
Trial registration
Current Controlled Trials ISRCTN42996612
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
In 2008, nearly 10 million children died in early childhood. Nearly all these deaths were in low- and middle-income countries—half were in Africa. In Kenya, for example, 74 out every 1,000 children born died before they reached their fifth birthday. About half of all childhood (pediatric) deaths in developing countries are caused by pneumonia, diarrhea, and malaria. Deaths from these common diseases could be prevented if all sick children had access to quality health care in the community (“primary” health care provided by health centers, pharmacists, family doctors, and traditional healers) and in district hospitals (“secondary” health care). Unfortunately, primary health care facilities in developing countries often lack essential diagnostic capabilities and drugs, and pediatric hospital care is frequently inadequate with many deaths occurring soon after admission. Consequently, in 1996, as part of global efforts to reduce childhood illnesses and deaths, the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) introduced the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy. This approach to child health focuses on the well-being of the whole child and aims to improve the case management skills of health care staff at all levels, health systems, and family and community health practices.
Why Was This Study Done?
The implementation of IMCI has been evaluated at the primary health care level, but its implementation in district hospitals has not been evaluated. So, for example, interventions designed to encourage the routine use of WHO disease-specific guidelines in rural pediatric hospitals have not been tested. In this cluster randomized trial, the researchers develop and test a multifaceted intervention designed to improve the implementation of treatment guidelines and admission pediatric care in district hospitals in Kenya. In a cluster randomized trial, groups of patients rather than individual patients are randomly assigned to receive alternative interventions and the outcomes in different “clusters” of patients are compared. In this trial, each cluster is a district hospital.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers randomly assigned eight Kenyan district hospitals to the “full” or “control” intervention, interventions that differed in intensity but that both included more strategies to promote implementation of best practice than are usually applied in Kenyan rural hospitals. The full intervention included provision of clinical practice guidelines and training in their use, six-monthly survey-based hospital assessments followed by face-to-face feedback of survey findings, 5.5 days training for health care workers, provision of job aids such as structured pediatric admission records, external supervision, and the identification of a local facilitator to promote guideline use and to provide on-site problem solving. The control intervention included the provision of clinical practice guidelines (without training in their use) and job aids, six-monthly surveys with written feedback, and a 1.5-day lecture-based seminar to explain the guidelines. The researchers compared the implementation of various processes of care (activities of patients and doctors undertaken to ensure delivery of care) in the intervention and control hospitals at baseline and 18 months later. The performance of both groups of hospitals improved during the trial but more markedly in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. At 18 months, the completion of admission assessment tasks and the uptake of guideline-recommended clinical practices were both higher in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals. Moreover, a lower proportion of children received inappropriate doses of drugs such as quinine for malaria in the intervention hospitals than in the control hospitals.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings show that specific efforts are needed to improve pediatric care in rural Kenya and suggest that interventions that include more approaches to changing clinical practice may be more effective than interventions that include fewer approaches. These findings are limited by certain aspects of the trial design, such as the small number of participating hospitals, and may not be generalizable to other hospitals in Kenya or to hospitals in other developing countries. Thus, although these findings seem to suggest that efforts to implement and scale up improved secondary pediatric health care will need to include more than the production and dissemination of printed materials, further research including trials or evaluation of test programs are necessary before widespread adoption of any multifaceted approach (which will need to be tailored to local conditions and available resources) can be contemplated.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018.
WHO provides information on efforts to reduce global child mortality and on Integrated Management of Childhood Illness (IMCI); the WHO pocket book “Hospital care for children contains guidelines for the management of common illnesses with limited resources (available in several languages)
UNICEF also provides information on efforts to reduce child mortality and detailed statistics on child mortality
The iDOC Africa Web site, which is dedicated to improving the delivery of hospital care for children and newborns in Africa, provides links to the clinical guidelines and other resources used in this study
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001018
PMCID: PMC3071366  PMID: 21483712
24.  Role of community pharmacists in improving knowledge and glycemic control of type 2 diabetes 
Objective:
To study the role of the community pharmacists in improving knowledge and glycemic control in patients with type 2 diabetes residing in villages of Coimbatore district, Tamil Nadu.
Materials and Methods:
Fifty patients were interviewed, of whom 39 subjects were included in the study. The literate and chronic diabetic patients were included in the study and illiterate, children below 12 years of age, pregnant women, nursing mothers and subjects with any other chronic disorders were excluded from the study. The subjects were interviewed and divided randomly into two groups. There were 20 subjects in the control group and 19 in the intervention group. The study protocol was explained to all the participants, and written informed consent was obtained from them. Before the initiation of the study, the subjects were interviewedfor 20–40 min to educate them about diabetes. Subjects in the intervention group received continuous counselling and medical advice to improve their awareness about the disease and drugs. During the study period, the Diabetes Care Profile (a questionnaire developed by J.J. Fitzgerald of the Michigan Diabetes Research and Training Center, University of Michigan Medical School, Michigan) was performed to each subject. The interval between visits was 2 months. All the values are expressed in mean ± standard deviation.
Results:
The intervention group showed better progress in the recovery of diabetics because of the continuous counselling and monitoring. There were significant changes in Diabetes Care Profile subscale scores in both the control and the intervention groups at the end of the study, viz. 1.8 ± 4.52 to 2.75 ± 6.62 and 3.10 ± 3.23 to 1.53 ± 2.66. Similarly, the knowledge test score was found to be increased in the intervention group compared with the baseline values (8.53 ± 1.81 to 12.16 ± 1.34).
Conclusions:
At the end of the study period, the patients of the intervention group had very good glycemic control. Their health status and understanding of diabetes and its management were better, and they had fewer problems such as episodes of hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia.
doi:10.4103/2229-3485.92304
PMCID: PMC3275990  PMID: 22347699
Community pharmacist; Diabetes Care Profile; type 2 diabetes patients
25.  Solar Drinking Water Disinfection (SODIS) to Reduce Childhood Diarrhoea in Rural Bolivia: A Cluster-Randomized, Controlled Trial 
PLoS Medicine  2009;6(8):e1000125.
Daniel Maeusezahl and colleagues conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in rural Bolivia of solar drinking water disinfection, and find only moderate compliance with the intervention and no evidence of reduction in diarrhea among children.
Background
Solar drinking water disinfection (SODIS) is a low-cost, point-of-use water purification method that has been disseminated globally. Laboratory studies suggest that SODIS is highly efficacious in inactivating waterborne pathogens. Previous field studies provided limited evidence for its effectiveness in reducing diarrhoea.
Methods and Findings
We conducted a cluster-randomized controlled trial in 22 rural communities in Bolivia to evaluate the effect of SODIS in reducing diarrhoea among children under the age of 5 y. A local nongovernmental organisation conducted a standardised interactive SODIS-promotion campaign in 11 communities targeting households, communities, and primary schools. Mothers completed a daily child health diary for 1 y. Within the intervention arm 225 households (376 children) were trained to expose water-filled polyethyleneteraphtalate bottles to sunlight. Eleven communities (200 households, 349 children) served as a control. We recorded 166,971 person-days of observation during the trial representing 79.9% and 78.9% of the total possible person-days of child observation in intervention and control arms, respectively. Mean compliance with SODIS was 32.1%. The reported incidence rate of gastrointestinal illness in children in the intervention arm was 3.6 compared to 4.3 episodes/year at risk in the control arm. The relative rate of diarrhoea adjusted for intracluster correlation was 0.81 (95% confidence interval 0.59–1.12). The median length of diarrhoea was 3 d in both groups.
Conclusions
Despite an extensive SODIS promotion campaign we found only moderate compliance with the intervention and no strong evidence for a substantive reduction in diarrhoea among children. These results suggest that there is a need for better evidence of how the well-established laboratory efficacy of this home-based water treatment method translates into field effectiveness under various cultural settings and intervention intensities. Further global promotion of SODIS for general use should be undertaken with care until such evidence is available.
Trial Registration
www.ClinicalTrials.gov NCT00731497
Please see later in the article for Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Thirsty? Well, turn on the tap and have a drink of refreshing, clean, safe water. Unfortunately, more than one billion people around the world don't have this option. Instead of the endless supply of safe drinking water that people living in affluent, developed countries take for granted, more than a third of people living in developing countries only have contaminated water from rivers, lakes, or wells to drink. Because of limited access to safe drinking water, poor sanitation, and poor personal hygiene, 1.8 million people (mainly children under 5 years old) die every year from diarrheal diseases. This death toll could be greatly reduced by lowering the numbers of disease-causing microbes in household drinking water. One promising simple, low-cost, point-of-use water purification method is solar drinking water disinfection (SODIS). In SODIS, recycled transparent plastic drinks bottles containing contaminated water are exposed to full sunlight for 6 hours. During this exposure, ultraviolet radiation from the sun, together with an increase in temperature, inactivates the disease-causing organisms in the water.
Why Was This Study Done?
SODIS has been promoted as an effective method to purify household water since 1999, and about 2 million people now use the approach (www.SODIS.ch). However, although SODIS works well under laboratory conditions, very few studies have investigated its ability to reduce the number of cases of diarrhea occurring in a population over a specific time period (the incidence of diarrhea) in the real world. Before any more resources are used to promote SODIS—its effective implementation requires intensive and on-going education—it is important to be sure that SODIS really does reduce the burden of diarrhea in communities in the developing world. In this study, therefore, the researchers undertake a cluster-randomized controlled trial (a study in which groups of people are randomly assigned to receive an intervention or to act as controls) in 22 rural communities in Bolivia to evaluate the ability of SODIS to reduce diarrhea in children under 5 years old.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
For their trial, the researchers enrolled 22 rural Bolivian communities that included at least 30 children under 5 years old and that relied on drinking water resources that were contaminated with disease-causing organisms. They randomly assigned 11 communities (225 households, 376 children) to receive the intervention—a standardized, interactive SODIS promotion campaign conducted by Project Concern International (a nongovernmental organization)—and 11 communities (200 households, 349 children) to act as controls. Households in the intervention arm were trained to expose water-filled plastic bottles for at least 6 hours to sunlight using demonstrations, role play, and videos. Mothers in both arms of the trial completed a daily child health diary for a year. Almost 80% of the households self-reported using SODIS at the beginning and end of the study. However, community-based field workers estimated that only 32.1% of households on average used SODIS. Data collected in the child health diaries, which were completed on more than three-quarters of days in both arms of the trial, indicated that the children in the intervention arm had 3.6 episodes of diarrhea per year whereas the children in the control arm had 4.3 episodes of diarrhea per year. The difference in episode numbers was not statistically significant, however. That is, the small difference in the incidence of diarrhea between the arms of the trial may have occurred by chance and may not be related to the intervention.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These findings indicate that, despite an intensive campaign to promote SODIS, less than a third of households in the trial routinely treated their water in the recommended manner. Moreover, these findings fail to provide strong evidence of a marked reduction of the incidence of diarrhea among children following implementation of SODIS although some aspects of the study design may have resulted in the efficacy of SODIS being underestimated. Thus, until additional studies of the effectiveness of SODIS in various real world settings have been completed, it may be unwise to extend the global promotion of SODIS for general use any further.
Additional Information
Please access these Web sites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000125
The PLoS Medicine editors wrote an editorial arguing that water should be a human right
The World Health Organization provides information about household water treatment and safe storage http://www.who.int/household_water and about the importance of water, sanitation, and hygiene for health http://www.who.int/water_sanitation_health/en/index.html (in several languages)
The SODIS Reference Center provides detailed information about solar water disinfection (in several languages)
The SODIS Foundation in Bolivia provides practical information for the roll-out of solar water disinfection in Latin America (in Spanish and English)
Project Concern International provides information about its campaign to promote SODIS in Bolivia (in Spanish)
The Water Supply and Sanitation Collaborative Council (WSSCC) is a global multi-stakeholder partnership organization with a goal of advocating to achieve sustainable water supply and sanitation for all people
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1000125
PMCID: PMC2719054  PMID: 19688036

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