Positive and Negative Impacts of a Continuing Professional Development Intervention on Pharmacist Practice: A Balanced Measure Evaluation

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Abstract

Introduction:

Evaluations of behavior change interventions aimed at improving professional practice are increasingly focused on impacts at the practice and patient outcome levels. Many of these evaluations assume that if the intended changes occur, the result represents an improvement. However, given the systemic nature of clinical practice, a change in one area can produce changes in other areas as well, some of which may adversely affect the patient. Balancing measures are used to determine whether unintended consequences of an intervention have been introduced into other areas of the system. The aims of this study were to evaluate the impact of behavior change intervention-based continuing professional development (CPD) on pharmacist interventions (resolution of drug therapy problems—DTPs) and resolution of quality indicator DTPs and knowledge change for urinary tract infections (UTI) and pneumonia. As a balancing measure, we aimed to determine whether delivery of behavior change interventions targeting pneumonia and UTI practice results in a negative impact on other important pharmacist interventions, specifically the resolution of heart failure DTPs.

Methods:

A quasiexperimental study was conducted at a Canadian health authority that evaluated the impacts of an 8-week multifaceted behavior change intervention delivered to 58 ward-based pharmacists. The primary outcome was change in proportion of UTI and pneumonia DTPs resolved from the 6-month preintervention to 6-month postintervention phase. Secondary outcomes were changes in proportion of UTI and pneumonia quality indicator DTPs resolved, knowledge quiz scores, and proportion of quality indicator DTPs resolved for heart failure as a balancing measure.

Results:

A total of 58 pharmacists were targets of the intervention. The proportion of resolved UTI and pneumonia DTPs increased from 17.8 to 27.2% (relative risk increase 52.8%, 95% confidence interval [CI] 42.8–63.6%; P < 0.05). The proportion of resolved UTI and pneumonia quality indicator DTPs increased from 12.2% to 18.2% (relative risk increase 49.9%, 95% CI 34.5–67.0%; P < 0.05). Resolved heart failure DTPs decreased from 14.3 to 8.5% (RRR 40.4%, 95% CI 33.9–46.2%; P < 0.05). Thirty-six pharmacists completed the pre- and post-quiz. Scores increased from 11.3/20 ± 3.2/20 to 14.8/20 ± 2.9/20 (P < 0.05).

Discussion:

CPD using a multifaceted behavior change intervention improved pharmacist behavior and knowledge for UTI and pneumonia. However, these improvements may be offset by reduced interventions for other disease states, such as heart failure. Strategies to mitigate the unintended effects on other professional behaviors should be implemented when delivering CPD focused on changing one aspect of professional behavior.

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