Is the pharmacy profession innovative enough? Meeting the needs of Australian residents with chronic conditions and their carers using the nominal group technique
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Background: Community pharmacies are ideally located as a source of support for people with chronic conditions. Yet, we have limited insight into what innovative pharmacy services would support this consumer group to manage their condition/s. The aim of this study was to identify what innovations people with chronic conditions and their carers want from their ideal community pharmacy, and compare with what pharmacists and pharmacy support staff think consumers want. Methods: We elicited ideas using the nominal group technique. Participants included people with chronic conditions, unpaid carers, pharmacists and pharmacy support staff, in four regions of Australia. Themes were identified via thematic analysis using the constant comparison method. Results: Fifteen consumer/carer, four pharmacist and two pharmacy support staff groups were conducted. Two overarching themes were identified: extended scope of practice for the pharmacist and new or improved pharmacy services. The most innovative role for Australian pharmacists was medication continuance, within a limited time-frame. Consumers and carers wanted improved access to pharmacists, but this did not necessarily align with a faster or automated dispensing service. Other ideas included streamlined access to prescriptions via medication reminders, electronic prescriptions and a chronic illness card. Conclusions: This study provides further support for extending the pharmacist's role in medication continuance, particularly as it represents the consumer's voice. How this is done, or the methods used, needs to optimise patient safety. A range of innovative strategies were proposed and Australian community pharmacies should advocate for and implement innovative approaches to improve access and ensure continuity of care.
BMC Health Services Research
Copyright 2014 McMillan et al; licensee BioMed Central Ltd. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Clinical Pharmacy and Pharmacy Practice