Background: The role of the community pharmacist has traditionally been a medication dispenser; however, community pharmacists' responsibilities must expand to include more direct patient care services in order to transform primary care practice.
Objectives: Use case-based scenarios to (1) determine factors that contribute to positive and negative consumer perceptions of expanded community pharmacist patient care roles, (2) identify facilitators and barriers that contribute to consumer perceptions of the value of expanded community pharmacist patient care services, and (3) develop a successful approach and strategies for increasing consumer advocacy for the value of expanded community pharmacist patient care services.
Methods: Two consumer focus groups used scenario-based guided discussions and Likert scale questionnaires to elicit consumer reactions, facilitators, and barriers to expanded community pharmacist services.
Results: Convenience, timeliness, and accessibility were common positive reactions across all 3 scenarios. Team approach to care and trust were viewed as major facilitators. Participant concerns included uncertainty about pharmacist training and qualifications, privacy, pharmacists' limited bandwidth to accept new tasks, and potential increased patient costs. Common barriers to service uptake included a lack of insurance payment and physician preference to provide the services.
Conclusion: Consumer unfamiliarity with non-traditional community pharmacist services is likely an influencer of consumers' hesitancy to utilize such services; therefore, an opportunity exists to engage consumers and advocacy organizations in supporting expanded community pharmacist roles. This study can inform consumers, advocates, community pharmacists, primary care providers, and community-based organizations on methods to shape consumer perceptions on the value of community pharmacist expanded services.
Keywords: community pharmacy; consumers; expanded pharmacist services; focus group; qualitative research.