Home' Australian Pharmacist : Australian Pharmacist December 2013 Contents 66 Australian Pharmacist December 2013 I ©Pharmaceutical Society of Australia Ltd.
Consumer perceptions of community
pharmacists delivering chronic disease
Background: The Australian primary healthcare system has become
responsible for the majority of chronic disease prevention and management
programs. Community pharmacists (CP) have begun to deliver chronic disease
management (CDM) programs for asthma, diabetes and hypertension.
However the use of CPs by health consumers for the management of chronic
diseases has not reached its full potential.
Objective: The purpose of this study was
to elucidate consumer perceptions of CPs'
role in primary healthcare and whether
consumers thought CPs were appropriate
facilitators of CDM.
Methods: A qualitative thematic analysis
methodology was utilised. Focus groups
were used to gather consumer data.
The data were analysed using a constant
Results: Four main themes emerged
from the data collection and analysis.
Firstly, consumers trusted CPs'
medication management expertise
which has become more important
given decreased consumer access to
the general practitioner of their choice.
Secondly, consumers were making
decisions regarding the choice of CP's
they utilised based on whether their
needs were healthcare advice and service
focussed or were more price oriented.
The third theme was the lack of consumer
awareness of CP CDM skills to deliver CP
CDM programs. The last, and over-riding
theme was that the lack of consumer
confidence in positive patient outcomes
occurring from CP managed CDM
programs which decreased consumer
willingness to utilise the programs.
Conclusion: Consumers have a
positive relationship with CPs based
on confidence and trust in the CP's
expertise and knowledge of medication
management. Consumers were less
aware of CP CDM and were less confident
regarding the CPs' ability to facilitate
successful CDM programs.
The prevalence of chronic diseases such
as diabetes, heart disease, asthma, and
arthritis has increased.1 At the same
time the primary healthcare system has
become responsible for the majority
of chronic disease prevention and
management programs.1,2 This shift has
placed increased demands on the primary
healthcare workforce and resources
leading to poor management outcomes
of chronic diseases.3,4
It has been noted, internationally and
in Australia, that community pharmacy
has the potential to make an important
contribution to improving primary
healthcare CDM of diabetes, hypertension
and asthma. This is primarily because
CPs are convenient, have a high level of
public trust and appropriate healthcare
knowledge.5--8 The CPs CDM programs
include monitoring; risk factors,
medication complacence and referring
patients to physicians for dosage
adjustment and laboratory tests, if
required. They also provide advice and
information about the patient's CDM.9
Nonetheless, CPs have been under-
utilised in this role and have not realised
this expected potential.9
Consumers are aware of the CPs' role in
medication management11,12 and utilise
CPs readily in this role.13,14 However it has
been shown that they are less aware of
the CPs' role in CDM.15 Furthermore, little
is known about consumer perceptions
regarding CPs ability to deliver CDM and
whether they believe CPs are appropriate
facilitators. This lack of understanding
may contribute to the under-utilisation of
CPs in CDM. Therefore, this study sought
to examine the perceptions of consumers
regarding their utilisation of CPs in
general and in CDM.
Dr Allison Rieck.* Senior Research Fellow,
Curtin Health Innovation Research Institute,
Curtin University, Perth, Western Australia.
Professor Simone Pettigrew. Health
Promotion Evaluation Unit, the University of
Western Australia, Perth, Western Australia,
*Address for correspondence
Dr Allison Rieck, email: allison.rieck@
The authors wish to thank all the consumers
who gave up their time to participate in this
study and also The University of Western
Australia, Business School.
Both Dr Allison Rieck and Professor Simone
Pettigrew have had complete access to the
study data which support this publication.
Professor Simone Pettigrew, was PhD
supervisor to Allison Rieck, and both
have given final approval for the study
publication to go ahead as per the ICMJE
definition of authorship.
Con ict of interest/funding
This work was supported by the
Pharmaceutical Society of Western Australia
through the J.M. O'Hara research fund.
consumer perspectives, chronic disease
management, community pharmacist.
This article has been peer reviewed.
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