Determining patient preferences of community pharmacy attributes: A systematic review

J Am Pharm Assoc (2003). 2020 Mar-Apr;60(2):397-404. doi: 10.1016/j.japh.2019.10.008. Epub 2019 Nov 25.


Objective: Patient selection of community pharmacy is based on a multitude of factors. With increasing competition and rapidly changing face of pharmacy, identification of these factors is critical for patient satisfaction and financial success. This systematic review summarizes patient preferences for different attributes of community pharmacy.

Data sources: Systematic review of peer-reviewed studies conducted on U.S. population, published from 2005 to 2018 in EBSCO, PubMed, and EMBASE, was conducted to identify attributes of community pharmacy that determine patient patronage.

Study selection: Studies conducted between 2005 and 2018 on U.S. population that examined attributes in choosing a pharmacy were eligible for this systematic review.

Data extraction: Data were independently extracted, assessed, and evaluated by 2 reviewers. Any disagreements were resolved by the third reviewer. Data obtained included year, setting, number of patients, data collection and evaluation methods, and relevant results and outcomes.

Results: Of the 713 papers identified, 10 articles met the inclusion criteria and were included in this systematic review. Majority of the studies used surveys to examine key attributes that influence patients' selection of a pharmacy. Pharmacist traits like friendly, helpful, trustworthy, professional, competent, caring, knowledgeable, responsive, and approachable are critical attributes that influence a patient's selection of pharmacy. Convenience (i.e., location, hours of operation, wait time, stock availability) also influenced patients' selection of pharmacy. Cost and contract with insurance were other important factors. Availability of auto-refills appeared consistently in the studies. Medication safety (detecting drug interactions) quality metrics also appeared high among patients' preferences.

Conclusion: The results of this review found that a relationship with a respectful, friendly, competent pharmacist represents important pharmacist-related attributes in the process of pharmacy selection. Important pharmacy-related attributes include cost, convenience, and wait times. Availability of auto-refill service was also a frequently reported attribute in this review.

Publication types

  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Community Pharmacy Services*
  • Humans
  • Patient Preference
  • Pharmacies*
  • Pharmacists
  • Pharmacy*