Objective: The pharmacist-run national German drug information service (DIS) has operated since 1988. Answering a steadily increasing demand over the past decade, our centre has, in total, provided information in more than 14,000 cases, mainly for community pharmacists. Information on user's satisfaction and on possible direct or indirect benefits for patients is as yet scarce. Our objectives were to assess user's satisfaction with the DIS and to identify any patient-related benefits based on the user's judgment.
Setting: Independent national drug information centre at ABDA headquarters.
Method: A questionnaire was developed, pre-tested, optimized, and used in daily practice over a period of one year (09/2003-08/2004). The questionnaire comprised seven items, aimed only at inquiries which pertained to a patient-related issue.
Results: During the study period, a total of 1,639 inquiries were answered. Of these, 1,017 (62%) were eligible. The response rate was 45% (455/1,017). Ratings (1 = poor to 5 = very good, mean +/- SD) showed positive evaluations for professional quality of advice (4.7 +/- 0.5), clarity/understandability of advice (4.7 +/- 0.5), timeliness of response (4.6 +/- 0.7), and helpfulness regarding counselling patients and/or physicians (4.6 +/- 0.6). Potential patient benefits could be identified in 42% of the cases that were available to follow-up (190/455).
Conclusion: This evaluation showed high satisfaction among users of a nationwide DIS, based on quality, understandability, timeliness, and helpfulness regarding counselling. According to its users, DIS was also able to provide positive patient outcomes.