The role of information technology in the development of community pharmacy services: Visions and strategic views of international experts

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Abstract

Background

Community pharmacy’s strategic vision has been to extend practice responsibilities beyond dispensing and provide patient care services. Few studies have evaluated the strategic and long-term development of information technology (IT) systems to support this vision.

Objective

The objective of this study was to explore international experts’ visions and strategic views on IT development needs in relation to service provision in community pharmacies.

Method

Semistructured interviews were conducted with a purposive sample of 14 experts from 8 countries in 2007-2008. These experts had expertise in the development of community pharmacy services and IT. The interviews were content analyzed using a constant comparison approach and a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis was undertaken.

Results

Most of the experts shared the vision for community pharmacy adopting a patient care orientation; supported by IT-based documentation, new technological solutions, access to information, and shared patient data. Opportunities to achieve this vision included IT solutions, professional skills, and interprofessional collaboration. Threats included costs, pharmacists’ attitude, and the absence of IT solutions.

Conclusions

Those responsible for IT development in community pharmacy sector should create long-term IT development strategies that are in line with community pharmacy service development strategies.

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