The Development and Proof of Principle Test of TRIAGE: A Practical Question Set to Identify and Discuss Medication-Related Problems in Community Pharmacy

Pharmacy (Basel). 2020 Sep 27;8(4):178. doi: 10.3390/pharmacy8040178.


The pharmacy counter is a good place to identify and discuss medication-related problems. However, there is a lack of practical communication tools to support pharmacy technicians (PTs) in initiating a conversation with patients. This study aimed to develop and test a practical set of questions for PTs, called TRIAGE, to identify problems during encounters. TRIAGE was developed based on insight from the literature, focus groups with PTs and pharmacists, and input from patients and experts. In 10 community pharmacies, 17 PTs used TRIAGE during encounters with patients who collected their cardiovascular medication. For each encounter, PTs registered the identified problems and suggested solutions. A total of 105 TRIAGE conversations were held, 66 for first refill and 39 for follow-up refill prescriptions. In 15 (23%) first refill prescription encounters, a problem was identified. These problems concerned forgetting to take the medication, a complex medication regime or (fear of) side effects. In three (8%) follow-up refill prescription encounters, a problem was identified. Most of the problems were solved on the spot. Pharmacy technicians indicated that they identified medication-related problems with TRIAGE that otherwise would be left unnoticed. They appreciated TRIAGE as a useful instrument for starting the conversation with patients about medication use.

Keywords: cardiovascular medication; clinical pharmacy; community pharmacy; medication adherence; medication experiences; medication-related problems; patient-centered communication; patient-provider communication; pharmaceutical care; practical question set.

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