Background: A patient-centered approach is increasingly recognized as an important component in the evaluation of healthcare services.
Objective: To assess patient satisfaction with, attitudes toward, and expectations of or experience with community pharmacy in general, and to evaluate the effect of the community pharmacy-led medications management service on these factors.
Methods: Postal questionnaire surveys were completed at baseline and after 12 months (follow-up) as part of a randomized controlled trial of the service. The setting was 9 primary care organizations in England. Patients with coronary heart disease were recruited from general practice registers and randomly allocated to the intervention (pharmacy-led medications management service) or control group.
Results: Survey response rates at baseline and follow-up were 88.4% (1232/1394) and 80.1% (1085/1355), respectively. The respondents indicated that they wanted pharmacists to provide dispensing, medications review, advice on medications and health, private consultation areas, and short visit times. At follow-up, intervention patients were more likely than control patients (p < 0.01) to rate the service provided by their pharmacist with a higher level of satisfaction, and most intervention patients stated a preference for seeing their physician to discuss their medications, although this was less marked than in control patients (76% vs 85%; p < 0.01). Intervention patients were also more willing than control patients to ask the pharmacist questions that they would be unable to ask a physician (20% vs 11%, respectively; p < 0.01), to ask the pharmacist questions about their medications (32% vs 18%, respectively; p < 0.01), and to recommend this practice to others (51% vs 40%, respectively; p < 0.01).
Conclusions: Pharmacist intervention was associated with significant and positive changes in patient satisfaction. While patients probably continue to prefer a physician-led service, they value aspects of a pharmacy service. Patients generally preferred discussing medications with the family physician, but experiencing the community pharmacy-led service resulted in an attitudinal shift toward the pharmacist. These findings suggest a benefit in developing the community pharmacist's role as a reviewer of, and adviser on, patients' medications.