Pharmacist Behavior Changes Following a Medication Counseling Training Program Targeting Teach-Back and Plain Language

  • David R Hager
  • Katherine Hartkopf
  • Amanda Margolis
  • Beth A Martin


Purpose: To evaluate whether active learning-based training in teach-back and plain language (TBPL) techniques can lead to observable changes to patient-centered practices in pharmacist-patient counseling.

Methods: All pharmacists in direct patient care roles, inpatient and outpatient, were required to complete a didactic module and a workshop / webinar or small group training. The workshop / webinar and small group modalities incorporated elements of adult education theory. Following completion, pharmacists were surveyed to assess their ability, confidence and commitment to incorporating TBPL techniques into practice. Evaluation of pharmacist-patient counseling was completed pre- and post- training through direct observation. Student pharmacists were trained to evaluate pharmacists’ consultations on patients with ≥2 new medications. Students recorded completeness rates for 39 communication techniques.

Results: One-hundred and eighteen pharmacists completed the TBPL training program and 59 pharmacists completed an evaluation. A total of 84 direct observations were completed (40 pre-training and 44 post-training). Skills improved included: using plain language (p

Conclusion: Implementing a TBPL training program improved observable pharmacist-patient consultation skills. This approach is replicable and could be utilized as a model for other competencies.


Type: Original Research


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Received 2016-02-24
Published 2016-02-24
Practice-Based Research