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1.  Patient medication knowledge and adherence to asthma pharmacotherapy: a pilot study in rural Australia 
Asthma is a chronic disease with both inflammatory and bronchoconstrictive elements and often requires multiple medications. Most asthma regimens include medications with different therapeutic modes of action and a number of different medication delivery devices. To effectively participate in their asthma management, patients need to recognize each of their medication types, understand their purpose, adhere to their treatment regimen, and be proficient in using the required delivery devices. This study evaluated patient knowledge of asthma pharmacotherapy and adherence. An interview study was undertaken in two rural locations, in Australia, to elicit participants' knowledge, use, and inhalation device technique. Of participants, 75.9% used preventer medication and the remaining 24.1% used reliever medication only. Of those using preventer medication, 82.5% could distinguish their preventer from a range of asthma medicines. Metered dose inhalers (MDIs) were used by 80% of participants; 23% used a Turbuhaler®; 24% used an Accuhaler®; and 5% used an MDI with a spacer device. The study established poor medication knowledge, suboptimal device technique, and disturbing levels of adherence with management recommendations. Asthma education strategies need to be modified to engage patients with low asthma knowledge to achieve improved patient outcomes. Further, strategies need to motivate patients to use preventer medication during times when they feel well.
PMCID: PMC1661608  PMID: 18360541
asthma; medication knowledge; medication adherence
2.  Experiences of community pharmacists involved in the delivery of a specialist asthma service in Australia 
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.
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.
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.
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.
PMCID: PMC3439711  PMID: 22709371
Pharmacy; Asthma; Disease management service; Experiences; Feedback

Results 1-2 (2)