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1.  A qualitative study exploring the impact and consequence of the medicines use review service on pharmacy support-staff 
Pharmacy Practice  2013;11(2):118-124.
Background
Pharmacy support-staff (pharmacy technicians, dispensers and Medicines Counter Assistants) support the delivery of pharmaceutical and retail functions of the pharmacy. Workflow is supervised and at times dependent upon the pharmacist’s presence. Policy makers and pharmacy’s representative bodies are seeking to extend the community pharmacist's role including requiring the pharmacist to undertake private consultations away from the dispensary and shop floor areas. However, support-staff voices are seldom heard and little is known about the impact such policies have on them.
Objective
The objective of this study is to explore the impact and consequences of the English Medicine Use Review (MUR) service on pharmacy support-staff.
Methods
Ten weeks of ethnographic-oriented observations in two English community pharmacies and interviews with 5 pharmacists and 12 support-staff. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Despite viewing MURs as a worthwhile activity, interviews with support-staff revealed that some felt frustrated when they were left to explain to patients why the pharmacist was not available when carrying out an MUR. Dependency on the pharmacist to complete professional and accuracy checks on prescriptions grieved dispensing staff because dispensing workflow was disrupted and they could not get their work done. Medicines Counter Assistants were observed to have less dependency when selling medicines but some still reported concerns over of customers and patients waiting for the pharmacist. A range of tacit and ad hoc strategies were consequently found to be deployed to handle situations when the pharmacist was absent performing an MUR.
Conclusions
Consideration should be given to support-staff and pharmacists’ existing work obligations when developing new pharmacy extended roles that require private consultations with patients. Understanding organisational culture and providing adequate resourcing for new services are needed to avoid improvisations or enactments by pharmacy support-staff and to allow successful innovation and policy implementation.
PMCID: PMC3798177  PMID: 24155859
Pharmacists' Aides; Pharmacists; Workflow; Community Pharmacy Services; Drug Utilization Review; Professional Practice; United Kingdom
2.  Patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong: A focus group study from different healthcare professionals' perspectives 
Background
Patient self-management is a key approach to manage non-communicable diseases. A pharmacist-led approach in patient self-management means collaborative care between pharmacists and patients. However, the development of both patient self-management and role of pharmacists is limited in Hong Kong. The objectives of this study are to understand the perspectives of physicians, pharmacists, traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) practitioners, and dispensers on self-management of patients with chronic conditions, in addition to exploring the possibilities of developing pharmacist-led patient self-management in Hong Kong.
Methods
Participants were invited through the University as well as professional networks. Fifty-one participants comprised of physicians, pharmacists, TCM practitioners and dispensers participated in homogenous focus group discussions. Perspectives in patient self-management and pharmacist-led patient self-management were discussed. The discussions were audio recorded, transcribed and analysed accordingly.
Results
The majority of the participants were in support of patients with stable chronic diseases engaging in self-management. Medication compliance, monitoring of disease parameters and complications, lifestyle modification and identifying situations to seek help from health professionals were generally agreed to be covered in patient self-management. All pharmacists believed that they had extended roles in addition to drug management but the other three professionals believed that pharmacists were drug experts only and could only play an assisting role. Physicians, TCM practitioners, and dispensers were concerned that pharmacist-led patient self-management could be hindered, due to unfamiliarity with the pharmacy profession, the perception of insufficient training in disease management, and lack of trust of patients.
Conclusions
An effective chronic disease management model should involve patients in stable condition to participate in self-management in order to prevent health deterioration and to save healthcare costs. The role of pharmacists should not be limited to drugs and should be extended in the primary healthcare system. Pharmacist-led patient self-management could be developed gradually with the support of government by enhancing pharmacists' responsibilities in health services and developing public-private partnership with community pharmacists. Developing facilitating measures to enhance the implementation of the pharmacist-led approach should also be considered, such as allowing pharmacists to access electronic health records, as well as deregulation of more prescription-only medicines to pharmacy-only medicines.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-11-121
PMCID: PMC3127980  PMID: 21609422
patient self-management; pharmacist-led patient self-management; chronic disease; health policy; Hong Kong
3.  A scenario-planning approach to human resources for health: the case of community pharmacists in Portugal 
Human Resources for Health  2014;12(1):58.
Background
Health workforce planning is especially important in a setting of political, social, and economic uncertainty. Portuguese community pharmacists are experiencing such conditions as well as increasing patient empowerment, shortage of primary care physicians, and primary health care reforms. This study aims to design three future scenarios for Portuguese community pharmacists, recognizing the changing environment as an opportunity to develop the role that community pharmacists may play in the Portuguese health system.
Methods
The community pharmacist scenario design followed a three-stage approach. The first stage comprised thinking of relevant questions to be addressed and definition of the scenarios horizon. The second stage comprised two face-to-face, scenario-building workshops, for which 10 experts from practice and academic settings were invited. Academic and professional experience was the main selection criteria. The first workshop was meant for context analysis and design of draft scenarios, while the second was aimed at scenario analysis and validation. The final scenarios were built merging workshops’ information with data collected from scientific literature followed by team consensus. The final stage involved scenario development carried by the authors alone, developing the narratives behind each scenario.
Results
Analysis allowed the identification of critical factors expected to have particular influence in 2020 for Portuguese community pharmacists, leading to two critical uncertainties: the “Legislative environment” and “Ability to innovate and develop services”. Three final scenarios were built, namely “Pharmacy-Mall”, “e-Pharmacist”, and “Reorganize or Die”. These scenarios provide possible trends for market needs, pharmacist workforce numbers, and expected qualifications to be developed by future professionals.
Conclusions
In all scenarios it is clear that the future advance of Portuguese community pharmacists will depend on pharmaceutical services provision beyond medicine dispensing. This innovative professional role will require the acquisition or development of competencies in the fields of management, leadership, marketing, information technologies, teamwork abilities, and behavioural and communication skills. To accomplish a sustainable evolution, legislative changes and adequate financial incentives will be beneficial. The scenario development proves to be valuable as a strategic planning tool, not only for understanding future community pharmacist needs in a complex and uncertain environment, but also for other health care professionals.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-12-58
PMCID: PMC4201711  PMID: 25312408
Community pharmacists; Human resources for health; Pharmaceutical services; Scenario planning; Portugal
4.  The future of pharmaceutical care in France: a survey of final-year pharmacy students' opinions 
Background
In the last decades, the provision of pharmaceutical care by community pharmacists has developed in OECD countries. These developments involved significant changes in professional practices and organization of primary care. In France, they have recently been encouraged by a new legal framework and favored by an increasing demand for health care (increase in the number of patients with chronic diseases) and reductions in services being offered (reduction in the number of general practitioners and huge regional disparities).
Objectives: This study aimed to investigate final-year pharmacy students' opinions on 1/expanding the scope of pharmacists' practices and 2/the potential barriers for the implementation of pharmaceutical care. We discussed these in the light of the experiences of pharmacists in Quebec, and other countries in Europe (United Kingdom and the Netherlands).
Methods
All final-year students in pharmaceutical studies, preparing to become community pharmacists, at the University Paris-Descartes in Paris during 2010 (n = 146) were recruited. All of them were interviewed by means of a questionnaire describing nine "professional" practices by pharmacists, arranged in four dimensions: (1) screening and chronic disease management, (2) medication surveillance, (3) pharmacy-prescribed medication and (4) participation in health care networks. Respondents were asked (1) how positively they view the extension of their current practices, using a 5 point Likert scale and (2) their perception of potential professional, technical, organizational and/or financial obstacles to developing these practices.
Results
143 (97.9%) students completed the questionnaire. Most of practices studied received a greater than 80% approval rating, although only a third of respondents were in favor of the sales of over-the-counter (OTC) drugs. The most significant perceived barriers were working time, remuneration and organizational problems, specifically the need to create a physical location for consultations to respect patients' privacy within a pharmacy.
Conclusions
Despite remaining barriers to cross, this study showed that future French pharmacists were keen to develop their role in patient care, beyond the traditional role of dispensing. However, the willingness of doctors and patients to consent should be investigated and also rigorous studies to support or refute the positive impact of pharmaceutical care on the quality of care should be carried out.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-6
PMCID: PMC3115856  PMID: 21612642
5.  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
6.  Medicines use reviews: a potential resource or lost opportunity for general practice? 
BMC Family Practice  2013;14:57.
Background
Patient non-adherence to medicines represents a significant waste of health resource and lost opportunity for health gain. Medicine management services are a key health policy strategy to encourage patients to take medicines as they are prescribed. One such service is the English Medicines Use Review (MUR) which is an NHS-funded community pharmacy service involving a patient-pharmacist consultation aiming to improve patients’ knowledge of medicines and their use. To date the evidence for MURs to improve patient health outcomes is equivocal and GPs are reported to be sceptical about the value of the service. This paper presents the patient’s perspective of the MUR service and focuses on the importance of GP-pharmacist collaboration for patient care. Suggestions on how MURs may have value to GPs through the delivery of increased patient benefit are discussed.
Method
A qualitative study involving ten weeks of ethnographic observations in two English community pharmacies. Observations were made of all pharmacy activities including patient-pharmacist MUR consultations. Subsequent interviews with these patients were conducted to explore their experience of the service. Interviews with the pharmacy staff were conducted after the period of observations. A thematic approach was used to analyse the data.
Results
Fifty-four patients agreed to have their MUR observed of which thirty-four were interviewed. Seventeen pharmacy staff were also interviewed. Patients reported positive views about MURs. However, there was little evidence suggesting that pharmacists and GPs were working collaboratively or communicating outcomes resulting from MURs. MURs were conducted in isolation from other aspects of patient care. Patients considered GPs to have authority over medicines making a few wary that MURs had the potential to cause tensions between these professionals and possibly adversely affect their own relationship with their doctor.
Conclusions
This study reveals the potential for effective GP-pharmacist collaboration to improve the capacity of the MUR service to support patient medicine taking. Closer collaboration between GPs and pharmacists could potentially improve patients’ use of medicines and associated health care outcomes. The current lack of such collaboration constitutes a missed opportunity for pharmacists and GPs to work together with patients to improve effective prescribing and optimise patient use of medicines.
doi:10.1186/1471-2296-14-57
PMCID: PMC3651305  PMID: 23647874
Adherence; Community pharmacy; Cooperative behaviour; General practitioners; Medicines Use Reviews; Patients; Pharmacists
7.  Interactions between Non-Physician Clinicians and Industry: A Systematic Review 
PLoS Medicine  2013;10(11):e1001561.
In a systematic review of studies of interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry, Quinn Grundy and colleagues found that many of the issues identified for physicians' industry interactions exist for non-physician clinicians.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Background
With increasing restrictions placed on physician–industry interactions, industry marketing may target other health professionals. Recent health policy developments confer even greater importance on the decision making of non-physician clinicians. The purpose of this systematic review is to examine the types and implications of non-physician clinician–industry interactions in clinical practice.
Methods and Findings
We searched MEDLINE and Web of Science from January 1, 1946, through June 24, 2013, according to PRISMA guidelines. Non-physician clinicians eligible for inclusion were: Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, Physician Assistants, pharmacists, dieticians, and physical or occupational therapists; trainee samples were excluded. Fifteen studies met inclusion criteria. Data were synthesized qualitatively into eight outcome domains: nature and frequency of industry interactions; attitudes toward industry; perceived ethical acceptability of interactions; perceived marketing influence; perceived reliability of industry information; preparation for industry interactions; reactions to industry relations policy; and management of industry interactions. Non-physician clinicians reported interacting with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Clinicians across disciplines met with pharmaceutical representatives regularly and relied on them for practice information. Clinicians frequently received industry “information,” attended sponsored “education,” and acted as distributors for similar materials targeted at patients. Clinicians generally regarded this as an ethical use of industry resources, and felt they could detect “promotion” while benefiting from industry “information.” Free samples were among the most approved and common ways that clinicians interacted with industry. Included studies were observational and of varying methodological rigor; thus, these findings may not be generalizable. This review is, however, the first to our knowledge to provide a descriptive analysis of this literature.
Conclusions
Non-physician clinicians' generally positive attitudes toward industry interactions, despite their recognition of issues related to bias, suggest that industry interactions are normalized in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. Industry relations policy should address all disciplines and be implemented consistently in order to mitigate conflicts of interest and address such interactions' potential to affect patient care.
Please see later in the article for the Editors' Summary
Editors' Summary
Background
Making and selling health care goods (including drugs and devices) and services is big business. To maximize the profits they make for their shareholders, companies involved in health care build relationships with physicians by providing information on new drugs, organizing educational meetings, providing samples of their products, giving gifts, and holding sponsored events. These relationships help to keep physicians informed about new developments in health care but also create the potential for causing harm to patients and health care systems. These relationships may, for example, result in increased prescription rates of new, heavily marketed medications, which are often more expensive than their generic counterparts (similar unbranded drugs) and that are more likely to be recalled for safety reasons than long-established drugs. They may also affect the provision of health care services. Industry is providing an increasingly large proportion of routine health care services in many countries, so relationships built up with physicians have the potential to influence the commissioning of the services that are central to the treatment and well-being of patients.
Why Was This Study Done?
As a result of concerns about the tension between industry's need to make profits and the ethics underlying professional practice, restrictions are increasingly being placed on physician–industry interactions. In the US, for example, the Physician Payments Sunshine Act now requires US manufacturers of drugs, devices, and medical supplies that participate in federal health care programs to disclose all payments and gifts made to physicians and teaching hospitals. However, other health professionals, including those with authority to prescribe drugs such as pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and nurse practitioners are not covered by this legislation or by similar legislation in other settings, even though the restructuring of health care to prioritize primary care and multidisciplinary care models means that “non-physician clinicians” are becoming more numerous and more involved in decision-making and medication management. In this systematic review (a study that uses predefined criteria to identify all the research on a given topic), the researchers examine the nature and implications of the interactions between non-physician clinicians and industry.
What Did the Researchers Do and Find?
The researchers identified 15 published studies that examined interactions between non-physician clinicians (Registered Nurses, nurse prescribers, midwives, pharmacists, Physician Assistants, and dieticians) and industry (corporations that produce health care goods and services). They extracted the data from 16 publications (representing 15 different studies) and synthesized them qualitatively (combined the data and reached word-based, rather than numerical, conclusions) into eight outcome domains, including the nature and frequency of interactions, non-physician clinicians' attitudes toward industry, and the perceived ethical acceptability of interactions. In the research the authors identified, non-physician clinicians reported frequent interactions with the pharmaceutical and infant formula industries. Most non-physician clinicians met industry representatives regularly, received gifts and samples, and attended educational events or received educational materials (some of which they distributed to patients). In these studies, non-physician clinicians generally regarded these interactions positively and felt they were an ethical and appropriate use of industry resources. Only a minority of non-physician clinicians felt that marketing influenced their own practice, although a larger percentage felt that their colleagues would be influenced. A sizeable proportion of non-physician clinicians questioned the reliability of industry information, but most were confident that they could detect biased information and therefore rated this information as reliable, valuable, or useful.
What Do These Findings Mean?
These and other findings suggest that non-physician clinicians generally have positive attitudes toward industry interactions but recognize issues related to bias and conflict of interest. Because these findings are based on a small number of studies, most of which were undertaken in the US, they may not be generalizable to other countries. Moreover, they provide no quantitative assessment of the interaction between non-physician clinicians and industry and no information about whether industry interactions affect patient care outcomes. Nevertheless, these findings suggest that industry interactions are normalized (seen as standard) in clinical practice across non-physician disciplines. This normalization creates the potential for serious risks to patients and health care systems. The researchers suggest that it may be unrealistic to expect that non-physician clinicians can be taught individually how to interact with industry ethically or how to detect and avert bias, particularly given the ubiquitous nature of marketing and promotional materials. Instead, they suggest, the environment in which non-physician clinicians practice should be structured to mitigate the potentially harmful effects of interactions with industry.
Additional Information
Please access these websites via the online version of this summary at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561.
This study is further discussed in a PLOS Medicine Perspective by James S. Yeh and Aaron S. Kesselheim
The American Medical Association provides guidance for physicians on interactions with pharmaceutical industry representatives, information about the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, and a toolkit for preparing Physician Payments Sunshine Act reports
The International Council of Nurses provides some guidance on industry interactions in its position statement on nurse-industry relations
The UK General Medical Council provides guidance on financial and commercial arrangements and conflicts of interest as part of its good medical practice website, which describes what is required of all registered doctors in the UK
Understanding and Responding to Pharmaceutical Promotion: A Practical Guide is a manual prepared by Health Action International and the World Health Organization that schools of medicine and pharmacy can use to train students how to recognize and respond to pharmaceutical promotion.
The Institute of Medicine's Report on Conflict of Interest in Medical Research, Education, and Practice recommends steps to identify, limit, and manage conflicts of interest
The University of California, San Francisco, Office of Continuing Medical Education offers a course called Marketing of Medicines
doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.1001561
PMCID: PMC3841103  PMID: 24302892
8.  Public perception on the role of community pharmacists in self-medication and self-care in Hong Kong 
Background
The choices for self-medication in Hong Kong are much diversified, including western and Chinese medicines and food supplements. This study was to examine Hong Kong public knowledge, attitudes and behaviours regarding self-medication, self-care and the role of pharmacists in self-care.
Methods
A cross-sectional phone survey was conducted, inviting people aged 18 or older to complete a 37-item questionnaire that was developed based on the Thematic Household surveys in Hong Kong, findings of the health prorfessional focus group discussions on pharmacist-led patient self management and literature. Telephone numbers were randomly selected from residential phone directories. Trained interviewers invited eligible persons to participate using the "last birthday method". Associations of demographic characteristics with knowledge, attitudes and beliefs on self-medication, self-care and role of pharmacists, and spending on over-the-counter (OTC) products were analysed statistically.
Results
A total of 1, 560 phone calls were successfully made and 1, 104 respondents completed the survey which indicated a response rate of 70.8%. 63.1% had adequate knowledge on using OTC products. Those who had no formal education/had attended primary education (OR = 3.19, 95%CI 1.78-5.72; p < 0.001), had attended secondary education (OR = 1.50, 95%CI 1.03-2.19; p = 0.035), and aged ≥60 years (OR = 1.82, 95% CI 1.02-3.26; p = 0.042) were more likely to have inadequate knowledge on self-medication. People with chronic disease also tended to spend more than HKD100 on western (OR = 3.58, 95%CI 1.58-8.09; p = 0.002) and Chinese OTC products (OR = 2.94, 95%CI 1.08-7.95; p = 0.034). 94.6% believed that patients with chronic illnesses should self-manage their diseases. 68% agreed that they would consult a pharmacist before using OTC product but only 45% agreed that pharmacists could play a leading role in self-care. Most common reasons against pharmacist consultation on self-medication and self-care were uncertainty over the role of pharmacists and low acceptance level of pharmacists.
Conclusions
The majority of respondents supported patients with chronic illness to self-manage their diseases but less than half agreed to use a pharmacist-led approach in self-care. The government should consider developing doctors-pharmacists partnership programs in the community, enhancing the role of pharmacists in primary care and providing education to patients to improve their awareness on the role of pharmacists in self-medication and self-care.
doi:10.1186/1472-6904-11-19
PMCID: PMC3252282  PMID: 22118309
9.  Health problems and help-seeking activities of methadone maintenance clients at Auckland Methadone Service (AMS): potential for community pharmacy service expansion? 
Background
In general the health of methadone clients has been found to be poorer than that of the general population. In New Zealand specialist drug services are not funded to provide primary healthcare services. Many health conditions could potentially be managed by community pharmacists who have frequent contact with this client group. This study sought to explore the health problems suffered by methadone clients, who they sought help from, and the potential for greater involvement of pharmacists.
Methods
Self-completion questionnaire of methadone maintenance clients managed in specialist care in Auckland, New Zealand.
Results
The most common health problem experienced by these clients in the past three months was sweating (70.0%), and more than half of the respondents also reported experiencing headache, fatigue and depression. The least frequently experienced conditions were hay fever (12.9%) and abscesses (12.1%). Respondents indicated that the top three choices from whom they would seek help were GP (56.7%), the client's partner (31.6%) and community pharmacists (27.9%). Barriers to seeking help from pharmacists included issues around cost, perceptions of pharmacist knowledge and skills, privacy and confidentiality.
Conclusion
Methadone clients in this study indicated that they suffered a number of general health problems, and in many cases were likely to seek help from a GP or their own partner, before seeking help from pharmacists. However, for over one quarter of respondents the pharmacist was in the top three from whom they would seek advice. Any barriers towards consulting pharmacists, in the main seem to be resolvable.
doi:10.1186/1477-7517-2-25
PMCID: PMC1334178  PMID: 16283944
10.  Patient perceptions of pharmacist roles in guiding self-medication of over-the-counter therapy in Qatar 
Background:
Self-care, including self-medication with over-the-counter (OTC) drugs, facilitates the public’s increased willingness to assume greater responsibility for their own health. Direct consultation with pharmacists provides efficient professional guidance for safe and appropriate OTC use.
Objective:
The purpose of this study was to characterize patient perceptions of pharmacists and use of nonprescription therapy in an ambulatory care population in Qatar.
Methods:
Patients having prescriptions filled at one organization’s private medical clinics during two distinct two-week periods were invited to participate in a short verbal questionnaire. Awareness of pharmacist roles in guiding OTC drug selection was assessed, as were patient preferences for OTC indications. Attitudes towards pharmacist and nurse drug knowledge and comfort with direct dispensing were also evaluated.
Results:
Five hundred seventy patients participated representing 29 countries. Most respondents were men (92.1%) with mean age of 38.3 years. Almost 1 in 7 did not know medical complaints could be assessed by a pharmacist (15.3%) and 1 in 5 (21.9%) were unaware pharmacists could directly supply OTC therapy. The majority (85.3%) would be interested in this service. In general, respondents were more comfortable with medication and related advice supplied by pharmacists as opposed to nursing professionals.
Conclusion:
Patients were familiar with the roles of pharmacists as they pertain to self-medication with OTC therapy and described the desire to use such a service within this Qatar ambulatory health care setting.
PMCID: PMC2875718  PMID: 20517469
patient; self-medication; over-the-counter; pharmacist; Qatar
11.  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
12.  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
13.  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
14.  The WHO UNESCO FIP Pharmacy Education Taskforce 
Pharmacists' roles are evolving from that of compounders and dispensers of medicines to that of experts on medicines within multidisciplinary health care teams. In the developing country context, the pharmacy is often the most accessible or even the sole point of access to health care advice and services.
Because of their knowledge of medicines and clinical therapeutics, pharmacists are suitably placed for task shifting in health care and could be further trained to undertake functions such as clinical management and laboratory diagnostics. Indeed, pharmacists have been shown to be willing, competent, and cost-effective providers of what the professional literature calls "pharmaceutical care interventions"; however, internationally, there is an underuse of pharmacists for patient care and public health efforts. A coordinated and multifaceted effort to advance workforce planning, training and education is needed in order to prepare an adequate number of well-trained pharmacists for such roles.
Acknowledging that health care needs can vary across geography and culture, an international group of key stakeholders in pharmacy education and global health has reached unanimous agreement that pharmacy education must be quality-driven and directed towards societal health care needs, the services required to meet those needs, the competences necessary to provide these services and the education needed to ensure those competences. Using that framework, this commentary describes the Pharmacy Education Taskforce of the World Health Organization, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization and the International Pharmaceutical Federation Global Pharmacy and the Education Action Plan 2008–2010, including the foundation, domains, objectives and outcome measures, and includes several examples of current activities within this scope.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-45
PMCID: PMC2697153  PMID: 19500351
15.  Perceived interprofessional barriers between community pharmacists and general practitioners: a qualitative assessment. 
BACKGROUND: There have been calls for greater collaboration between general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists in primary care. AIM: To explore barriers between the two professions in relation to closer interprofessional working and the extension of prescribing rights to pharmacists. DESIGN OF STUDY: Qualitative study. SETTING: Three locality areas of a health and social services board in Northern Ireland. METHOD: GPs and community pharmacists participated in uniprofessional focus groups; data were analysed using interpretative phenomenology. RESULTS: Twenty-two GPs (distributed over five focus groups) and 31 pharmacists (distributed over six focus groups) participated in the study. The 'shopkeeper' image of community pharmacy emerged as the superordinate theme, with subthemes of access, hierarchy and awareness. The shopkeeper image and conflict between business and health care permeated the GPs' discussions and accounted for their concerns regarding the extension of prescribing rights to community pharmacists and involvement inextended services. Community pharmacists felt such views influenced their position in the hierarchy of healthcare professionals. Although GPs had little problem in accessing pharmacists, they considered that patients experienced difficulties owing to the limited opening hours of pharmacies. Conversely, pharmacists reported great difficulty in accessing GPs, largely owing to the gatekeeper role of receptionists. GPs reported being unaware of the training and activities of community pharmacists and participating pharmacists also felt that GPs had no appreciation of their role in health care. CONCLUSION: A number of important barriers between GPs and community pharmacists have been identified, which must be overcome if interprofessional liaison between the two professions is to be fully realised.
PMCID: PMC1314673  PMID: 14601335
16.  An expanded prescribing role for pharmacists - an Australian perspective 
The Australasian Medical Journal  2011;4(4):236-242.
Expanded pharmacist prescribing is a new professional practice area for pharmacists. Currently, Australian pharmacists’ prescribing role is limited to over-the-counter medications. This review aims to identify Australian studies involving the area of expanded pharmacist prescribing. Australian studies exploring the issues of pharmacist prescribing were identified and considered in the context of its implementation internationally. Australian studies have mainly focused on the attitudes of community and hospital pharmacists towards such an expansion. Studies evaluating the views of Australian consumers and pharmacy clients were also considered. The available Australian literature indicated support from pharmacists and pharmacy clients for an expanded pharmacist prescribing role, with preference for doctors retaining a primary role in diagnosis. Australian pharmacists and pharmacy client’s views were also in agreement in terms of other key issues surrounding expanded pharmacist prescribing. These included the nature of an expanded prescribing model, the need for additional training for pharmacists and the potential for pharmacy clients gaining improved medication access, which could be achieved within an expanded role that pharmacists could provide. Current evidence from studies conducted in Australia provides valuable insight to relevant policymakers on the issue of pharmacist prescribing in order to move the agenda of pharmacist prescribing forwards.
doi:10.4066/AMJ.2011.694
PMCID: PMC3562903  PMID: 23393515
Pharmacist prescribing; Australia; pharmacy clients; Australian pharmacy; non-medical prescribing
17.  Public health in community pharmacy: A systematic review of pharmacist and consumer views 
BMC Public Health  2011;11:582.
Background
The increasing involvement of pharmacists in public health will require changes in the behaviour of both pharmacists and the general public. A great deal of research has shown that attitudes and beliefs are important determinants of behaviour. This review aims to examine the beliefs and attitudes of pharmacists and consumers towards pharmaceutical public health in order to inform how best to support and improve this service.
Methods
Five electronic databases were searched for articles published in English between 2001 and 2010. Titles and abstracts were screened by one researcher according to the inclusion criteria. Papers were included if they assessed pharmacy staff or consumer attitudes towards pharmaceutical public health. Full papers identified for inclusion were assessed by a second researcher and data were extracted by one researcher.
Results
From the 5628 papers identified, 63 studies in 67 papers were included. Pharmacy staff: Most pharmacists viewed public health services as important and part of their role but secondary to medicine related roles. Pharmacists' confidence in providing public health services was on the whole average to low. Time was consistently identified as a barrier to providing public health services. Lack of an adequate counselling space, lack of demand and expectation of a negative reaction from customers were also reported by some pharmacists as barriers. A need for further training was identified in relation to a number of public health services. Consumers: Most pharmacy users had never been offered public health services by their pharmacist and did not expect to be offered. Consumers viewed pharmacists as appropriate providers of public health advice but had mixed views on the pharmacists' ability to do this. Satisfaction was found to be high in those that had experienced pharmaceutical public health
Conclusions
There has been little change in customer and pharmacist attitudes since reviews conducted nearly 10 years previously. In order to improve the public health services provided in community pharmacy, training must aim to increase pharmacists' confidence in providing these services. Confident, well trained pharmacists should be able to offer public health service more proactively which is likely to have a positive impact on customer attitudes and health.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-11-582
PMCID: PMC3146877  PMID: 21777456
18.  Internationally trained pharmacists in Great Britain: what do registration data tell us about their recruitment? 
Background
Internationally trained health professionals are an important part of the domestic workforce, but little is known about pharmacists who come to work in Great Britain. Recent changes in the registration routes onto the Register of Pharmacists of the Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain may have affected entries from overseas: reciprocal arrangements for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand ended in June 2006; 10 new states joined the European Union in 2004 and a further two in 2007, allowing straightforward registration.
Aims
The aims of the paper are to extend our knowledge about the extent to which Great Britain is relying on the contribution of internationally trained pharmacists and to explore their routes of entry and demographic characteristics and compare them to those of pharmacists trained in Great Britain.
Methods
The August 2007 Register of Pharmacists provided the main data for analysis. Register extracts between 2002 and 2005 were also explored, allowing longitudinal comparison, and work pattern data from the 2005 Pharmacist Workforce Census were included.
Results
In 2007, internationally trained pharmacists represented 8.8% of the 43 262 registered pharmacists domiciled in Great Britain. The majority (40.6%) had joined the Register from Europe; 33.6% and 25.8% joined via adjudication and reciprocal arrangements. Until this entry route ended for pharmacists from Australia and New Zealand in 2006, annual numbers of reciprocal pharmacists increased. European pharmacists are younger (mean age 31.7) than reciprocal (40.0) or adjudication pharmacists (43.0), and the percentage of women among European-trained pharmacists is much higher (68%) when compared with British-trained pharmacists (56%). While only 7.1% of pharmacists registered in Great Britain have a London address, this proportion is much higher for European (13.9%), adjudication (19.5%) and reciprocal pharmacists (28.9%). The latter are more likely to work in hospitals than in community pharmacies, and all groups of internationally trained pharmacist are more likely to work full-time than British-trained ones. Adjudication pharmacists appear to stay on the Register longer than their reciprocal and European colleagues.
Conclusion
Analysis of the Register of Pharmacists provides novel insights into the origins, composition and destinations of internationally trained pharmacists. They represent a notable proportion of the Register, indicating that British employers are relying on their contribution for the delivery of pharmacy services. With the increasing mobility of health care professionals across geographical borders, it will be important to undertake primary research to gain a better understanding of the expectations, plans and experiences of pharmacists entering from outside Great Britain.
doi:10.1186/1478-4491-7-51
PMCID: PMC2714492  PMID: 19555489
19.  How can pharmacist remuneration systems in Europe contribute to generic medicine dispensing?  
Pharmacy Practice  2012;10(1):3-8.
Generic medicines can generate larger savings to health care budgets when their use is supported by incentives on both the supply-side and the demand-side. Pharmacists’'remuneration is one factor influencing the dispensing of generic medicines.
Objective
The aim of this article is to provide an overview of different pharmacist remuneration systems for generic medicines in Europe, with a view to exploring how pharmacist remuneration systems can contribute to generic medicine dispensing.
Methods
Data were obtained from a literature review, a Master thesis in Pharmaceutical Care at the Catholic University of Leuven and a mailing sent to all members of the Pharmaceutical Group of the European Union with a request for information about the local remuneration systems of community pharmacists and the possible existence of reports on discounting practices.
Results
Pharmacists remuneration in most European countries consists of the combination of a fixed fee per item and a certain percentage of the acquisition cost or the delivery price of the medicines. This percentage component can be fixed, regressive or capped for very high-cost medicines and acts as a disincentive for dispensing generic medicines. Discounting for generic medicines is common practice in several European countries but information on this practice tends to be confidential. Nevertheless, data for Belgium, France, the Netherlands and United Kingdom indicated that discounting percentages varied from 10% to 70% of the wholesale selling price.
Conclusions
Pharmacists can play an important role in the development of a generic medicines market. Pharmacists should not be financially penalized for dispensing generic medicines. Therefore, their remuneration should move towards a fee-for-performance remuneration instead of a price-dependent reimbursement which is currently used in many European countries. Such a fee-for-performance remuneration system provides a stimulus for generic medicines dispensing as pharmacists are not penalized for dispensing them but also needs to account for the loss of income to pharmacists from prohibiting discounting practices.
PMCID: PMC3798161  PMID: 24155810
Drugs, Generic; Drug Substitution; Fees, Pharmaceutical; Pharmacists; Europe
20.  Pharmacists’ attitude, perceptions and knowledge towards the use of herbal products in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates 
Pharmacy Practice  2010;8(2):109-115.
Objective
The purpose of the study was to assess pharmacists’ current practice, perception and knowledge towards the use of herbal products in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE). The study assessed the need for incorporating herbal medicine as a separate topic in under- graduate pharmacy student curricula.
Methods
The study was done on 600 pharmacists employed in Abu Dhabi, who were contacted electronically, out of which 271 had completed the survey. The data was collected using a structured questionnaire.
Results
Pharmacists’ use of herbal products is high in the UAE, as they have a high belief on the effectiveness of herbal products, and only age was found to be the most predominant variable that was influencing pharmacists’ personal use of herbal products (p-value=0.0171). Pharmacists were more knowledgeable on the uses/indications of herbal products (47%) rather than on other areas. Knowledge of the dispensing mode (prescription only or over the counter medicines) mandated by the Ministry of Health was quite good, however, it is to be noted that the source of information on the dispensing mode was provided by medical representatives (48%). Knowledge of dispensing mode of herbal products was found to be significantly influenced by the place of work with more knowledge of the dispensing mode by pharmacists working in the private sector (p-value 0.0007). The results from the study also underscores the need for including herbal medicine as a separate topic in pharmacy college curriculum and to provide for more seminars and continuing pharmacy education programs targeting pharmacists in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Conclusions
Pharmacists need to be informed on indications, drug interactions, adverse events and precautions of herbal products. Concerned bodies must also provide them with regular continuing education programs apart from putting their efforts to incorporate relevant topics on herbal medicine in the pharmacy students’ curriculum.
PMCID: PMC4133064  PMID: 25132878
Herbal Medicine; Education; Pharmacy; United Arab Emirates
21.  The feasibility and acceptability of the provision of alcohol screening and brief advice in pharmacies for women accessing emergency contraception: an evaluation study 
BMC Public Health  2014;14(1):1139.
Background
It is widely accepted that excessive drinking contributes to both health and social problems. There has been considerable interest in the potential of community pharmacies as a setting for health advice, and evidence suggests that interventions by pharmacists can be effective. Research on interventions relating to alcohol consumption in primary care has focused on general practice, and although some evidence exists about the efficacy of pharmacy interventions, little research to date has taken place in the UK. The aim of this study was to evaluate the acceptability of alcohol screening and brief interventions to women accessing emergency hormonal contraception (EHC) in community pharmacies.
Methods
An initiative whereby women who accessed community pharmacies for EHC would be asked to complete an AUDIT questionnaire following their EHC consultation was introduced by a Primary Care Trust (PCT) in the North-East of England. The evaluation incorporated three strands: interviewing pharmacists (n = 14) about the implementation and acceptability of the initiative; interviewing clients (n = 22) identified as “low risk” to understand their perceptions of the initiative; conducting online follow-up surveys with clients in the “risky” group (n = 53) to evaluate the impact of the initiative on their alcohol consumption and contraceptive behaviour, as well as their perceptions of the service.
Results
Pharmacists’ attitudes towards screening were generally positive, although there were organisational obstacles to providing the service. Some felt uncertain about engaging clients in conversation about a sensitive topic. However, clients themselves did not report feeling embarrassed or upset, and most were happy to talk to the pharmacist and be given advice. Most clients felt that the pharmacist was an appropriate person to carry out alcohol screening and advice.
Conclusions
It is feasible for pharmacists to carry out screening and brief advice, and most customers find it acceptable. However, pharmacist take-up of the service and participation in the study was low. Pharmacists were enthusiastic about providing screening and other health promotion services; targeting different population groups for alcohol screening may be more successful. Delivery of the AUDIT tool by pharmacists may not obtain reliable responses from some specific client groups.
doi:10.1186/1471-2458-14-1139
PMCID: PMC4240821  PMID: 25369791
Alcohol brief intervention; Community pharmacy; Women; AUDIT questionnaire; Emergency contraception; UK
22.  Patient attitudes regarding the role of the pharmacist and interest in expanded pharmacist services 
Canadian Pharmacists Journal : CPJ  2014;147(4):239-247.
Background:
Pharmacists are consistently ranked among the most trusted professionals, and research shows high levels of satisfaction with pharmacist services. Studies have also shown that the public is generally unaware of the full range of roles and responsibilities of a pharmacist. The purpose of this study was to explore the public’s knowledge and attitudes regarding the role of the community pharmacist and to determine their likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services.
Methods:
Adults across Newfoundland and Labrador were surveyed by telephone. Survey questions addressed how frequently participants visited the pharmacy, understanding of duties undertaken by pharmacists, perceptions and attitudes regarding pharmacists as health care professionals, likelihood of using expanded pharmacist services and participant demographics. Comparisons were made between responses from urban and rural participants and frequent versus nonfrequent pharmacy users, to determine if there were any differences.
Results:
The majority of participants were generally aware of what pharmacists do when filling prescriptions; those who visited the pharmacy more frequently appeared to be more informed. Participants indicated they would take advantage of the expanded services suggested, with greatest interest in receiving advice for minor ailment management and prescription refills from pharmacists. Results support the prevailing view that pharmacists are trusted health professionals who should have access to patients’ health information to provide best care.
Conclusion:
The public is aware of aspects of the pharmacist’s role, but opportunities exist to better educate the public on the knowledge, skills and unique professional abilities of pharmacists to support uptake of expanded pharmacist services.
doi:10.1177/1715163514535731
PMCID: PMC4212442  PMID: 25360150
23.  Increasing the number of drugs available over the counter: arguments for and against. 
Many drugs previously restricted to prescription only status are being reclassified as pharmacy only status and hence are becoming available over the counter to patients. A general practitioner should make enquiries about a patient's self-medication practices before deciding on treatment for the patient. Over-the-counter medicines are considered safe and their increased use indicates that patients are taking greater responsibility for their own health and possibly taking some of the financial burden of drug treatment from the National Health Service. The retention of their restriction to pharmacy only sale provides some additional protection for patients and promotes the role of pharmacists in the care of patients. However, having more drugs available for self-treatment may encourage patients to believe that there is a drug treatment for every ailment. Increasing the range of drugs available over the counter increases the risks of interactions and adverse reactions and of self-treatment being undertaken when medical aid should have been sought. For general practitioners to recommend positively use of over-the-counter preparations may involve some medicolegal risks, and the potential savings to the NHS may prove illusory. Education for patients and better communication between general practitioners and community pharmacists are required to allow easier availability of modern medicines to patients in order to bring the benefits anticipated.
PMCID: PMC1239409  PMID: 7492426
24.  Management of patient adherence to medications: protocol for an online survey of doctors, pharmacists and nurses in Europe 
BMJ Open  2011;1(1):e000355.
Introduction
It is widely recognised that many patients do not take prescribed medicines as advised. Research in this field has commonly focused on the role of the patient in non-adherence; however, healthcare professionals can also have a major influence on patient behaviour in taking medicines. This study examines the perceptions, beliefs and behaviours of healthcare professionals—doctors, pharmacists and nurses—about patient medication adherence.
Methods and analysis
This paper describes the study protocol and online questionnaire used in a cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals in Europe. The participating countries include Austria, Belgium, France, Greece, The Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Portugal, Switzerland, Hungary, Italy and England. The study population comprises primary care and community-based doctors, pharmacists and nurses involved in the care of adult patients taking prescribed medicines for chronic and acute illnesses.
Discussion
Knowledge of the nature, extent and variability of the practices of healthcare professionals to support medication adherence could inform future service design, healthcare professional education, policy and research.
Article summary
Article focus
A protocol for a cross-sectional survey of healthcare professionals in Europe to examine the perceptions, beliefs and behaviours of healthcare professionals—doctors, pharmacists and nurses—about patient medication adherence.
The questionnaire used in the survey of healthcare professionals is described in detail.
Key messages
There is an acute need for evidence regarding healthcare professionals' beliefs, perceptions and behaviour with regard to patient non-adherence to medicines.
This protocol describes a study to address this need.
The results of this study could guide healthcare professionals as they support patients with taking medicine in their day-to-day clinical practice.
Strengths and limitations of this study
The survey is the largest cross-national survey of healthcare professionals' approach to medication adherence.
Reliance on self-report data may raise concerns regarding the validity of the findings.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2011-000355
PMCID: PMC3276023  PMID: 22080529
25.  Older Patient, Physician and Pharmacist Perspectives about Community Pharmacists’ Roles 
Objectives
To investigate older patient, physician and pharmacist perspectives about the pharmacists’ role in pharmacist-patient interactions.
Methods
Design
Eight focus group discussions.
Settings
Senior centers, community pharmacies, primary care physician offices.
Participants
Forty-two patients aged 63 and older, 17 primary care physicians, and 13 community pharmacists.
Measurements
Qualitative analysis of focus group discussions.
Results
Participants in all focus groups indicated that pharmacists are a good resource for basic information about medications. Physicians appreciated pharmacists’ ability to identify drug interactions, yet did not comment on other specific aspects related to patient education and care. Physicians noted that pharmacists often were hindered by time constraints that impede patient counseling. Both patient and pharmacist participants indicated that patients often asked pharmacists to expand upon, reinforce, and explain physician-patient conversations about medications, as well as to evaluate medication appropriateness and physician treatment plans. These groups also noted that patients confided in pharmacists about medication-related problems before contacting physicians. Pharmacists identified several barriers to patient counseling, including lack of knowledge about medication indications and physician treatment plans.
Conclusions
Community-based pharmacists may often be presented with opportunities to address questions that can affect patient medication use. Older patients, physicians and pharmacists all value greater pharmacist participation in patient care. Suboptimal information flow between physicians and pharmacists may hinder pharmacist interactions with patients and detract from patient medication management. Interventions to integrate pharmacists into the patient healthcare team could improve patient medication management.
doi:10.1111/j.2042-7174.2012.00202.x
PMCID: PMC3442941  PMID: 22953767
pharmacist-patient interactions; provider-patient communication; prescription medication; qualitative research methods

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