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1.  The design and user-testing of a question prompt list for attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder 
BMJ Open  2014;4(12):e006585.
Objectives
This study involved the development of a question prompt list (QPL) booklet designed to facilitate communication and shared decision-making between parents/carers of children diagnosed with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) and their clinicians; and user-testing of the QPL to assess its usability.
Design
Best practice in information writing and design was used to format the QPL content into a 16-page booklet. We then applied user-testing, which uses mixed methods to assess document performance with small cohorts of participants and then improves it in an iterative process. Individual interviews assessed the ability of QPL users to locate and understand key points of information, followed by a semistructured questionnaire, to ascertain their general views about the booklet.
Setting and participants
Testing was undertaken with two cohorts of 10 parents/carers of children with ADHD (n=20); matched on age, gender and educational attainment.
Tested documents
In round 1, we tested 15 key points of information related to the QPL. Participant responses and feedback from round 1 informed a revised version of the booklet, tested in a subsequent round.
Primary outcome measure
The target was for 8/10 of the participants to be able to find and demonstrate an understanding of all key information points, in accordance with European guidelines for medicine leaflet testing.
Results
After round 1, problems related to 4/15 information points were identified (booklet purpose; preparing for appointments; asking about a second medical opinion; selecting which questions to ask). Participants also made suggestions regarding the booklet's layout and design. After round 2, all information points were located and understood by at least 8/10 participants.
Conclusions
This is the first study to have developed a usable ADHD-specific QPL for use by parents/carers of children with ADHD during clinical consultations, and the first demonstration of the utility of user-testing methods in ensuring QPL usability.
doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2014-006585
PMCID: PMC4275667  PMID: 25515843
attention deficit hyperactivity disorder; shared decision making; communication; question prompt list; user testing
2.  Challenges in the Care of Clients with Established Cardiovascular Disease: Lessons Learned from Australian Community Pharmacists 
PLoS ONE  2014;9(11):e113337.
Background
As primary healthcare professionals, community pharmacists have both opportunity and potential to contribute to the prevention and progression of chronic diseases. Using cardiovascular disease (CVD) as a case study, we explored factors that influence community pharmacists’ everyday practice in this area. We also propose a model to best illustrate relationships between influencing factors and the scope of community pharmacy practice in the care of clients with established CVD.
Methods
In-depth, semi-structured interviews were conducted with 21 community pharmacists in New South Wales, Australia. All interviews were audio-recorded, transcribed ad verbatim, and analysed using a “grounded-theory” approach.
Results
Our model shows that community pharmacists work within a complex system and their practice is influenced by interactions between three main domains: the “people” factors, including their own attitudes and beliefs as well as those of clients and doctors; the “environment” within and beyond the control of community pharmacy; and outcomes of their professional care. Despite the complexity of factors and interactions, our findings shed some light on the interrelationships between these various influences. The overarching obstacle to maximizing the community pharmacists’ contribution is the lack of integration within health systems. However, achieving better integration of community pharmacists in primary care is a challenge since the systems of remuneration for healthcare professional services do not currently support this integration.
Conclusion
Tackling chronic diseases such as CVD requires mobilization of all sources of support in the community through innovative policies which facilitate inter-professional collaboration and team care to achieve the best possible healthcare outcomes for society.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0113337
PMCID: PMC4237444  PMID: 25409194
3.  Do parents of children with attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) receive adequate information about the disorder and its treatments? A qualitative investigation 
Background
Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) is the most prevalent pediatric neurodevelopmental condition, commonly treated using pharmacological agents such as stimulant medicines. The use of these agents remains contentious, placing parents in a difficult position when deciding to initiate and/or continue their child’s treatment. Parents refer to a range of information sources to assist with their treatment decision-making. This qualitative study aimed to investigate 1) parents’ ADHD-related knowledge pre- and post-diagnosis, 2) the information sources accessed by parents, 3) whether parents’ information needs were met post-diagnosis, and 4) parents’ views about strategies to meet their information needs.
Methods
Three focus groups (n=16 parents), each lasting 1.0–1.5 hours were conducted. Focus groups were audio-recorded and transcribed verbatim. Transcripts were analyzed using the framework method, coded, and categorized into themes.
Results
Generally, parents had limited ADHD-related knowledge prior to their child’s diagnosis and perceived prescription medicines indicated for ADHD in a negative context. Parents reported improved knowledge after their child’s diagnosis; however, they expressed dissatisfaction with information that they accessed, which was often technical and not tailored to their child’s needs. Verbal information sought from health care professionals was viewed to be reliable but generally medicine-focused and not necessarily comprehensive. Parents identified a need for concise, tailored information about ADHD, the medicines used for its treatment, and changes to their child’s medication needs with age. They also expressed a desire for increased availability of support groups and tools to assist them in sourcing information from health care professionals during consultations, such as question prompt lists.
Conclusion
There are gaps in parents’ knowledge about ADHD and its treatment, and an expressed need for tailored and reliable information. Future research needs to focus on providing parents with avenues to access concise, reliable, and relevant information and support in order to empower them to make the best treatment decision for their child.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S60164
PMCID: PMC4020896  PMID: 24855342
information needs; question prompt list
4.  Enhancing provision of written medicine information in Australia: pharmacist, general practitioner and consumer perceptions of the barriers and facilitators 
Background
Written medicine information can play an important role in educating consumers about their medicines. In Australia, standardised, comprehensive written information known as Consumer Medicine Information (CMI) is available for all prescription medicines. CMI is reportedly under-utilised by general practitioners (GPs) and community pharmacists in consultations, despite consumer desire for medicine information. This study aimed to determine consumers’, GPs’ and community pharmacists’ preferences for CMI provision and identify barriers and facilitators to its use.
Method
Structured questionnaires were developed and administered to a national sample of Australian consumers (phone survey), community pharmacists and GPs (postal surveys) surrounding utilisation of CMI. Descriptive and comparative analyses were conducted.
Results
Half of consumers surveyed wanted to receive CMI for their prescription medicine, with spoken information preferable to written medicine information for many consumers and healthcare professionals. GPs and pharmacists remained a preferred source of medicine information for consumers, although package inserts were appealing to many among all three cohorts. Overall pharmacists were the preferred provider of CMI primarily due to their medicine expertise, accessibility and perceived availability. GPs preferred CMI dissemination through both the GP and pharmacist. Some consumers preferred GPs as the provider of medicines information because of their knowledge of the patients’ medicines and/or medical history, regularity of seeing the patient and good relationship with the patient. Common barriers to CMI provision cited included: time constraints, CMI length and perceptions that patients are not interested in receiving CMI. Facilitators to enhance provision included: strategies to increase consumer awareness, longer consultation times and counseling appointments, and improvements to pharmacy software technology and workflow.
Conclusion
Medicine information is important to consumers, whether as spoken, written or a combination of both. A tailored approach is needed to ascertain individual patient preference for delivery and scope of medicine information desired so that appropriate information is provided. The barriers of time and perceived attitudes of healthcare practitioners present challenges which may be overcome through changes to workplace practices, adoption of identified facilitators, and education about the positive benefits of CMI as a tool to engage and empower patients.
doi:10.1186/1472-6963-14-183
PMCID: PMC4000453  PMID: 24754890
Written medicine information; Patient education; Information-sharing; Barriers; Facilitators; Community pharmacists; General practitioners
5.  Adherence to antidepressant medications: an evaluation of community pharmacists’ counseling practices 
Background
Recent studies have shown that pharmacists have a role in addressing antidepressant nonadherence. However, few studies have explored community pharmacists’ actual counseling practices in response to antidepressant adherence-related issues at various phases of treatment. The purpose of this study was to evaluate counseling practices of community pharmacists in response to antidepressant adherence-related issues.
Methods
A simulated patient method was used to evaluate pharmacist counseling practices in Sydney, Australia. Twenty community pharmacists received three simulated patient visits concerning antidepressant adherence-related scenarios at different phases of treatment: 1) patient receiving a first-time antidepressant prescription and hesitant to begin treatment; 2) patient perceiving lack of treatment efficacy for antidepressant after starting treatment for 2 weeks; and 3) patient wanting to discontinue antidepressant treatment after 3 months due to perceived symptom improvement. The interactions were recorded and analyzed to evaluate the content of consultations in terms of information gathering, information provision including key educational messages, and treatment recommendations.
Results
There was variability among community pharmacists in terms of the extent and content of information gathered and provided. In scenario 1, while some key educational messages such as possible side effects and expected benefits from antidepressants were mentioned frequently, others such as the recommended length of treatment and adherence-related messages were rarely addressed. In all scenarios, about two thirds of pharmacists explored patients’ concerns about antidepressant treatment. In scenarios 2 and 3, only half of all pharmacists’ consultations involved questions to assess the patient’s medication use. The pharmacists’ main recommendation in response to the patient query was to refer the patient back to the prescribing physician.
Conclusion
The majority of pharmacists provided information about the risks and benefits of antidepressant treatment. However, there remains scope for improvement in community pharmacists’ counseling practice for patients on antidepressant treatment, particularly in providing key educational messages including adherence-related messages, exploring patients’ concerns, and monitoring medication adherence.
doi:10.2147/PPA.S48486
PMCID: PMC3754825  PMID: 23986631
simulated patients; antidepressant medications; medication adherence; community pharmacist
6.  What are the perceived learning needs of Australian general practice registrars for quality prescribing? 
BMC Medical Education  2010;10:92.
Background
Little is known about the perceived learning needs of Australian general practice (GP) registrars in relation to the quality use of medicines (QUM) or the difficulties experienced when learning to prescribe. This study aimed to address this gap.
Methods
GP registrars' perceived learning needs were investigated through an online national survey, interviews and focus groups. Medical educators' perceptions were canvassed in semi-structured interviews in order to gain a broader perspective of the registrars' needs. Qualitative data analysis was informed by a systematic framework method involving a number of stages. Survey data were analysed descriptively.
Results
The two most commonly attended QUM educational activities took place in the workplace and through regional training providers. Outside of these structured educational activities, registrars learned to prescribe mainly through social and situated means. Difficulties encountered by GP registrars included the transition from hospital prescribing to prescribing in the GP context, judging how well they were prescribing and identifying appropriate and efficient sources of information at the point of care.
Conclusions
GP registrars learn to prescribe primarily and opportunistically in the workplace. Despite many resources being expended on the provision of guidelines, decision-support systems and training, GP registrars expressed difficulties related to QUM. Ways of easing the transition into GP and of managing the information 'overload' related to medicines (and prescribing) in an evidence-guided, efficient and timely manner are needed. GP registrars should be provided with explicit feedback about the process and outcomes of prescribing decisions, including the use of audits, in order to improve their ability to judge their own prescribing.
doi:10.1186/1472-6920-10-92
PMCID: PMC3017526  PMID: 21143939
7.  Adherence policy, education and practice – an international perspective 
Pharmacy Practice  2010;8(4):209-212.
Nonadherence to chronic therapy has become a large burden on the healthcare system of many countries. Community pharmacists are well positioned to address nonadherence as part of their overall patient care activities, and contribute to patients’ quality use of medicines. Between 2008 and 2010, a series of narrative, peer-reviewed articles were published in Pharmacy Practice which focused on community pharmacists’ activities in medication adherence, specifically in the areas of the education they receive, their practice, the research conducted and national or local policies. This editorial aims to summarise the key findings presented in the series, and highlight the pertinent issues and gaps in the literature. There is a need to implement global and long-term objectives focussing on enhancing the quality of education and competencies of community pharmacists and the research conducted in medication adherence, to develop guidelines for pharmacists and enhance the uptake of adherence promoting services in routine care.
PMCID: PMC4127057  PMID: 25126142
Medication Adherence; Pharmacists; Education; Pharmacy
8.  Adherence: a review of education, research, practice and policy in Spain 
Pharmacy Practice  2009;7(3):125-138.
Aims:
To describe medication adherence education, practice, research and policy efforts carried out by pharmacists in Spain in the last decade.
Methods:
A literature review using Medline and Embase was conducted covering the last ten years. Additional pharmaceutical bibliographic sources in Spain were consulted to retrieve articles of interest from the last decade. Articles were included if a pharmacist was involved and if medication adherence was measured or there was any direct or indirect pharmacist intervention in monitoring and/or improving adherence. Articles focusing on the development of tools for adherence assessment were collected. Pre- and post-graduate pharmacy training programs were also reviewed through the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science website. Information regarding policy issues was gathered from the Spanish and Autonomous Communities of Education and Health Ministries websites.
Results:
Pharmacists receive no specific training focused on adherence. There is no specific government policies for pharmacists in Spain related to medication adherence regardless of their practice setting. A total of 24 research studies met our inclusion criteria. Of these, 10 involved pharmacist intervention in monitoring and/or improving adherence and 14 assessed only adherence. Ten studies involved hospital pharmacists working in collaboration with another healthcare professional.
Conclusions:
At present in Spain, the investigative role of the pharmacist is not well developed in the area of medication adherence. Adherence improvement services provided to patients by pharmacists are not implemented in a systematic way. However, recent efforts to implement new initiatives in this area may provide the basis for offering new cognitive services aimed at improving patient adherence in the near future.
PMCID: PMC4139043  PMID: 25143789
Medication Adherence; Pharmacists; Spain
9.  Adherence: a review of education, research, practice and policy in Australia 
Pharmacy Practice  2009;7(1):1-10.
Community pharmacists are well placed to deliver adherence support services as well as other pharmaceutical services to patients. They are often the last point of contact with patients collecting medicines in the healthcare chain, and they tend to be visited by patients on a regular basis to collect prescription medicines. They have the opportunity to reinforce information already received from other health practitioners, provide further information and monitor adherence to therapy.
The past decade has seen an increase in focus on the importance of adherence to therapy, not only in the higher education sector, but also in government policy and community pharmacy practice. Adherence monitoring and promotion has not only become the foundation of courses taught in pharmacy schools, but has become an essential component of disease management and pharmaceutical services delivered by community pharmacists.
Aims
This article aims to describe the education, research, practice and policy in the area of adherence to therapy in Australia with a focus on community pharmacists.
Methods
A search of MEDLINE and International Pharmaceutical Abstracts as well as hand searches of the bibliographies of retrieved articles was conducted for the period 2000-2008. All pharmacy schools in Australia were also contacted to obtain information on the patient adherence to therapy content of their courses.
Results
Ten studies met the inclusion criteria. Only one study had a specific adherence focus, with the remainder including adherence support and monitoring as part of the overall interventions delivered by the community pharmacists. In the majority of cases the interventions resulted in an improvement in patients’ adherence to therapy. The research was supported by government and pharmacy professional organisation initiatives in the area of cognitive pharmaceutical services. All universities which responded delivered specific patient adherence courses.
Conclusions
Australian pharmacy schools are educating cohorts of students who will have the skills to monitor and support patient medication adherence in the context of contemporary pharmacy practice. This is supported by research evidence, government policy and fits well into the move to expand community pharmacy services to include chronic disease state management and primary health care.
PMCID: PMC4139750  PMID: 25147586
Medication Adherence; Pharmacists; Australia
10.  Medication adherence among heart and/or lung transplant recipients: An exploratory study 
Objectives
To investigate medication nonadherence in heart and/or lung transplant recipients; to explore patients’ opinions about their medications and transplant experience; and to investigate strategies used to facilitate adherence.
Methods
A semi-structured questionnaire was developed to address the objectives of this exploratory study. Face-to-face interviews were conducted with inpatients and clinic outpatients at a large public teaching hospital.
Results
Thirty three patients consented to participate. Sixteen (48.5%) admitted to having missed a dose of their immunosuppressant medications at some time since the transplant, with five (15.2%) missing a dose in the two weeks prior to data collection. The main reasons for missing doses were ‘forgetfulness’ (n = 16, 48.5%) or ‘being busy with other things’ (9, 27.3%). Most nonadherence was unintentional, only 4 (12.1%) ever chose not to take a dose. Participants had strong opinions about their medications and condition. Most had a positive feeling towards their transplant and all had positive feelings about the team. Reported reasons for adherence included increased life span and quality of life. All but one of the participants used strategies or aids to facilitate adherence.
Conclusions
Self-reported nonadherence rates identified were low compared with literature reports for adherence in chronic disease and in other transplant populations. Participants’ opinions about their medications and transplant experience may have acted as a strong motivator for adherence.
PMCID: PMC2770381  PMID: 19920951
adherence; compliance; heart and lung transplantation; pharmacist
11.  Design and Implementation of an Educational Partnership Between Community Pharmacists and Consumer Educators in Mental Health Care 
Objective
To design and implement an interactive education program to improve the skill and confidence of community pharmacists in providing pharmaceutical services to people with mental illnesses.
Design
A literature review was conducted and key stakeholders were consulted to design a partnership that involved community pharmacists and consumer educators. The partnership was designed so that all participants shared equal status. This facilitated mutual recognition of each others' skills.
Assessment
Four 2-hour training sessions were conducted over a 2-week period in March 2005. Seven pharmacists, 5 consumer educators, and 1 caregiver educator participated in the partnership. Pharmacists indicated that their participation caused them to reflect on their own medication counseling techniques. Consumer educators reported that speaking about their experiences aided their recovery.
Conclusion
Developing a better understanding and improved communication between community pharmacists and people with mental illnesses is an important aspect of facilitating a concordant approach to patient counseling. Implementing mental health education programs utilizing consumer educators in pharmacy schools is a promising area for further research.
PMCID: PMC1636921  PMID: 17149408
continuing education; patient counseling; community pharmacy; mental health care
12.  Community pharmacy services to optimise the use of medications for mental illness: a systematic review 
The objective of this systematic review was to evaluate the impact of pharmacist delivered community-based services to optimise the use of medications for mental illness. Twenty-two controlled (randomised and non-randomised) studies of pharmacists' interventions in community and residential aged care settings identified in international scientific literature were included for review. Papers were assessed for study design, service recipient, country of origin, intervention type, number of participating pharmacists, methodological quality and outcome measurement. Three studies showed that pharmacists' medication counselling and treatment monitoring can improve adherence to antidepressant medications among those commencing treatment when calculated using an intention-to-treat analysis. Four trials demonstrated that pharmacist conducted medication reviews may reduce the number of potentially inappropriate medications prescribed to those at high risk of medication misadventure. The results of this review provide some evidence that pharmacists can contribute to optimising the use of medications for mental illness in the community setting. However, more well designed studies are needed to assess the impact of pharmacists as members of community mental health teams and as providers of comprehensive medicines information to people with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder
doi:10.1186/1743-8462-2-29
PMCID: PMC1345690  PMID: 16336646
13.  How do Consumers Search for and Appraise Information on Medicines on the Internet? A Qualitative Study Using Focus Groups 
Background
Many consumers use the Internet to find information about their medicines. It is widely acknowledged that health information on the Internet is of variable quality and therefore the search and appraisal skills of consumers are important for selecting and assessing this information. The way consumers choose and evaluate information on medicines on the Internet is important because it has been shown that written information on medicines can influence consumer attitudes to and use of medicines.
Objective
To explore consumer experiences in searching for and appraising Internet-based information on medicines.
Methods
Six focus groups (N = 46 participants) were conducted in metropolitan Sydney, Australia from March to May 2003 with consumers who had used the Internet for information on medicines. Verbatim transcripts of the group discussions were analyzed using a grounded theory approach.
Results
All participants reported using a search engine to find information on medicines. Choice of search engine was determined by factors such as the workplace or educational environments, or suggestions by family or friends. Some participants found information solely by typing the medicine name (drug or brand name) into the search engine, while others searched using broader terms. Search skills ranged widely from more-advanced (using quotation marks and phrases) to less-than-optimal (such as typing in questions and full sentences). Many participants selected information from the first page of search results by looking for keywords and descriptions in the search results, and by looking for the source of the information as apparent in the URL. Opinions on credible sources of information on medicines varied with some participants regarding information by pharmaceutical companies as the "official" information on a medicine, and others preferring what they considered to be impartial sources such as governments, organizations, and educational institutions. It was clear that although most participants were skeptical of trusting information on the Internet, they had not paid conscious attention to how they selected information on medicines. Despite this, it was evident that participants viewed the Internet as an important source for information on medicines.
Conclusions
The results showed that there was a range of search and appraisal skills among participants, with many reporting a limited awareness of how they found and evaluated Internet-based information on medicines. Poor interpretation of written information on medicines has been shown to lead to anxiety and poor compliance to therapy. This issue is more important for Internet-based information since it is not subject to quality control and standardization as is written information on medicines. Therefore, there is a need for promoting consumer search and appraisal skills when using this information. Educating consumers in how to find and interpret Internet-based information on medicines may help them use their medicines in a safer and more-effective way.
doi:10.2196/jmir.5.4.e33
PMCID: PMC1550579  PMID: 14713661
Medicines; drugs; information; Internet; consumers; focus groups; qualitative research

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