Objectives: To identify patients' understanding of what constitutes a "quality pharmacy" and to obtain their feedback regarding the development and use of the pharmacy star rating model, a pharmacy-specific aggregate performance score based on the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Medicare Star Rating.
Design: Prospective cross-sectional study.
Setting and participants: Focus groups were conducted in Arizona, California, Mississippi, Maryland, and the District of Columbia, and one-on-one interviews were conducted in Indiana. Eligible patients were required to routinely use a community pharmacy.
Main outcome measures: Consumer insights on their experiences with their pharmacies and their input on the pharmacy star rating model were attained. Key themes from the focus groups and interviews were obtained through the use of qualitative data analyses.
Results: Forty-nine subjects from 5 states and DC participated in 6 focus groups and 4 one-on-one interviews. Eighty-eight percent of participants reported currently taking at least 1 medication, and 87% reported having at least 1 health condition. The 7 themes identified during qualitative analysis included patient care, relational factors for choosing a pharmacy, physical factors for choosing a pharmacy, factors related to use of the pharmacy star rating model, reliability of the pharmacy star rating model, trust in pharmacists, and measures of pharmacy quality. Most participants agreed that the ratings would be useful and could aid in selecting a pharmacy, especially if they were moving to a new place or if they were dissatisfied with their current pharmacy.
Conclusion: Pharmacy quality measures are new to patients. Therefore, training and education will need to be provided to patients, as pharmacies begin to offer additional clinical services, such as medication therapy management and diabetes education. The use of the pharmacy star rating model was dependent on the participants' situation when choosing a pharmacy.
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