Patient Experiences at Enhanced-Service Pharmacies in Iowa

  • Chen Huang College of Pharmacy University of Iowa
  • William Doucette College of Pharmacy University of Iowa
  • Michael Andreski College of Pharmacy Drake University
  • Anthony Pudlo Iowa Pharmacy Association
Keywords: pharmacist service, service quality, patient


Objectives: As payment systems are evolving, the role of community pharmacists has expanded from simply dispensing prescriptions to actively providing care to patients. Little is known about patients’ experiences with enhanced pharmacy services under the pay-for-performance model.  In Iowa, Wellmark implemented its Value-Based Pharmacy Program (VBPP) where pharmacists receive capitation for performance on a set of quality measurements. Therefore, the objective of this study was to evaluate the quality of services and pharmacies from patients’ perspective in VBPP. A structured interview guide developed from the service quality model was used for this study.

Methods: We conducted telephone interviews with patients from 6 community pharmacies participating in VBPP between December 2017 and January 2018. Patients who were aged between 21 and 90 years, had Wellmark prescription drug coverage, were currently on at least three medications with one or more of the medications for a chronic condition and had received enhanced pharmacy services were invited for the study. The semi-structured interview transcripts were coded and analyzed using an inductive approach of thematic analysis.

Results: Interviews were completed by 25 patients. Most of them were female and the average age was 59. More than half of the patients were taking at least five medications for chronic conditions. A majority of the patients received medication synchronization and immunization. A total of 13 themes across the service quality dimensions were identified. Patients thought their pharmacists were reliable, responsive, knowledgeable and trustworthy when they provided services. Pharmacy services were accessible and perceived as high quality. Privacy was not a big concern for most patients. Patients had a somewhat limited view regarding how pharmacists helped them maintain health.

Conclusions: Patients’ perceptions of enhanced pharmacy services and pharmacies were generally positive while their understanding of pharmacists’ clinical role was limited.


Article Type: Original Research


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Received 2018-10-30
Published 2019-05-22
Pharmacy Practice & Practice-Based Research