Community pharmacy, innovative practice, diffusion of innovation


Purpose: This qualitative study was concerned with investigating community pharmacists' thoughts on the use of two brief scales to measure patient outcomes and therapeutic alliance in the context of their Medication Therapy Management (MTM) services. The scales were originally developed for use in behavioral healthcare, but were used in a novel (community pharmacy) setting as part of a previous parent study. We describe this practice (using these scales in a novel setting) as an innovative practice, report on the pharmacists' experiences with the practice, and discuss relative advantages and disadvantages for integrating the use of the scales as part of routine practice.

Methods: Six community pharmacy practitioners participated in a semi-structured interview pertaining to the use of the scales in their MTM services. Pharmacist interviews were transcribed, analyzed according to qualitative content analysis methodology, and presented in relation to the guiding interview questions.

Results: Pharmacists had varying opinions on the use of the scales as part of their practice. Initial concerns included patient (mis)understanding about the purpose and proper completion of the scales, as well as apprehension about the use of the information. These concerns were largely resolved through education, repeated use, and routinization. Pharmacists, in general, saw a value to using these scales in clinical practice, for clinical and professional reasons, although there was variability on the degree to which pharmacists integrated the scales into practice after the study completion. Pharmacists had varied opinions as well as on the degree to which the use of the scales would impact medication adherence. Pharmacists were most surprised by how much participation in this study prompted them to reflect on their interactions with patients.

Conclusions: Pharmacists, in general, were receptive to participating in the parent study and using two brief scales to measure patient outcomes and therapeutic alliance. Pharmacists had varying opinions on the degree to which the use of these scales could impact patient medication adherence, although they perceived other value and benefits secondary to the interactions. While most pharmacists did not maintain formal use of the scales after study end, they took away general principles of patient-centered care and individualized feedback.