Objective: To evaluate the feasibility, acceptability and effectiveness of a brief intervention about inhaler technique, delivered by community pharmacists to asthma patients.
Methods: Thirty-one pharmacists received brief workshop education (Active: n=16, CONTROL: n=15). Active Group pharmacists were trained to assess and teach dry powder inhaler technique, using patient-centered educational tools including novel Inhaler Technique Labels. Interventions were delivered to patients at four visits over 6 months.
Results: At baseline, patients (Active: 53, CONTROL: 44) demonstrated poor inhaler technique (mean+/-S.D. score out of 9, 5.7+/-1.6). At 6 months, improvement in inhaler technique score was significantly greater in Active cf. CONTROL patients (2.8+/-1.6 cf. 0.9+/-1.4, p<0.001), and asthma severity was significantly improved (p=0.015). Qualitative responses from patients and pharmacists indicated a high level of satisfaction with the intervention and educational tools, both for their effectiveness and for their impact on the patient-pharmacist relationship.
Conclusion: A simple feasible intervention in community pharmacies, incorporating daily reminders via Inhaler Technique Labels on inhalers, can lead to improvement in inhaler technique and asthma outcomes.
Practice implications: Brief training modules and simple educational tools, such as Inhaler Technique Labels, can provide a low-cost and sustainable way of changing patient behavior in asthma, using community pharmacists as educators.