Background: Patient counseling is a professional service provided by community pharmacists. To assess the quality of these services, specific quality assurance instruments are needed.
Objective: To develop a validated, easy-to-use patient counseling quality assurance instrument for community pharmacists. The development process was part of a national project to enhance patient counseling in community pharmacies (TIPPA 2000-2003).
Methods: A modified Delphi method was used with 2 expert panels: Panel 1, consisting of experienced pharmacy practitioners (n = 10), and Panel 2, consisting of academic and professional experts (n = 10). The final consensus was assessed by a Delphi questionnaire round involving both panels, the employers of Panel 1 members (n = 5), and the members of the executive board of the TIPPA project (n = 10), comprising 35 people (response rate 74%; n = 26).
Results: The first Delphi round yielded a high consensus, with the level of agreement varying between 69% and 100%. All but one item met the predefined criteria for approval. A total of 16 indicators were identified in 3 quality dimensions: patient (4 indicators), process (6), and learning and innovations (6). Strategy and vision of the pharmacy in patient counseling formed the core of the instrument.
Conclusions: The modified Delphi method proved to be applicable in the development process of an instrument assessing patient counseling services. The instrument comprehensively takes into account factors related to quality assurance of counseling practices.