Objectives: The primary objective was to assess attitudes from Ohio pharmacists about contraceptive authority. Secondary objectives included determining pharmacists' perceptions of benefits, barriers, and preparedness for offering such services and examining attitudes about and experiences with other reproductive health topics to inform future research.
Methods: An anonymous 26-question Institutional Review Board-approved electronic survey was developed and distributed via Qualtrics to a random sample of 500 licensed pharmacists in Ohio. Two months were allotted for survey completion. A link to free Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education-approved continuing pharmacy education (CPE) through Ohio Northern University was offered as an incentive for completing the survey.
Results: One hundred thirty-eight pharmacists completed the survey (62% female). Fifty-eight percent worked in community pharmacy and 34% in health-system pharmacy. The majority indicated that oral and transdermal contraceptive methods should be pharmacist-initiated (57% and 54%, respectively) through a collaborative practice agreement or statewide protocol. More pharmacists supported provision of hormonal contraception through a collaborative practice agreement rather than a statewide protocol. Increased access to care and convenience for patients were identified most frequently as potential benefits. Time constraints, concerns of increased liability, and other barriers for initiating such services were identified by pharmacists. Pharmacists most frequently listed clinical guidelines, CPE, and patient education materials as tools needed to successfully initiate contraceptive therapy regimens. Pharmacists responding to the survey were also proponents of increasing involvement in other aspects of sexual and reproductive health, such as expedited partner therapy (64%) and human papilloma virus vaccination (67%). Respondents indicated a potential lack of experience or training in topics such as expedited partner therapy and intimate partner violence.
Conclusion: Pharmacists surveyed showed interest in providing sexual and reproductive health services, including pharmacist-provided prescription contraceptive products and preventive health services. Further studies are needed to evaluate pharmacists' roles in other sexual and reproductive health services.
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