Community pharmacy integration within the primary care pathway for people with long-term conditions: a focus group study of patients’, pharmacists’ and GPs’ experiences and expectations

Published on 2019-02-08T05:00:00Z (GMT) by
Abstract Background This study aimed to use marketing theory to examine the views of patients, pharmacists and general practitioners (GPs) on how community pharmacies are currently used and to identify how community pharmacy services may be better integrated within the primary care pathway for people with long-term conditions (LTCs). Methods A qualitative research design was used. Two focus groups were conducted with respiratory patients (n = 6, 5) and two with type 2 diabetes patients (both n = 5). Two focus groups were held with pharmacists (n = 7, 5) and two with GPs (both n = 5). The “7Ps marketing mix” (“product”, “price”, “place”, “promotion”, “people”, “process”, “physical evidence”) was used to frame data collection and analysis. Data was analysed using thematic analysis. Results Due to the access and convenience of community pharmacies (“place”), all stakeholder groups recommended using community pharmacies over GP practices for services such as management of minor ailments, medication reviews and routine check-ups for well managed LTCs (“product”). All stakeholder groups preferred pharmacy services with clear specifications which focused on specific interventions to reduce variability in service delivery and quality (“process”). However, all stressed the importance of having an appropriate system to share relevant information, allowing pharmacists and GPs two-way flow (“process”). Pharmacists and GPs mentioned difficulties in collaborating with each other due to inter-professional tensions arising from funding conflicts, which leads to duplication of services and inefficient workflow within the primary care pathway (“people”). Patients and GPs were sometimes doubtful of community pharmacies’ potential to expand services due to limited space, size and poor quality consultation rooms (“physical evidence”). However, all stakeholder groups recommended promoting community pharmacy services locally and nationally (“promotion”). Patients felt the most effective form of promotion was first-hand experience of high quality pharmacy services and peer word-of-mouth. The added value of using pharmacy services was faster access and convenience for patients, and freeing up GPs’ time to focus on more complex patients (“value”). Conclusions Using the 7Ps marketing mix highlighted factors which could influence utilisation and integration of community pharmacy services within the primary care pathway for patients with LTCs. Further research is needed to identify their relative importance.

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Hindi, Ali; Schafheutle, Ellen; Jacobs, Sally (2019): Community pharmacy integration within the primary care pathway for people with long-term conditions: a focus group study of patients’, pharmacists’ and GPs’ experiences and expectations. figshare. Collection.