Evaluation of a pharmacy service helping patients to get a good start in taking their new medications for chronic diseases

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Abstract

Background:

Getting a good start in taking new medications for a chronic disease constitutes a crucial step in the establishment of continuous medical treatment. Patients in this phase report problems such as concerns about their new medication, side effects and practical problems, all contributing to the risk of non-adherence. Counseling at the pharmacy counter may not be structured appropriately to address issues of potential non-adherence to new medication. For these reasons, a new pharmacy service in Denmark was developed. The service consists of a 15-min face-to-face interview and a 10-min telephone follow-up interview.

Purpose:

The aim of study was to evaluate the new service with regard to overall patient satisfaction, knowledge, practical problems, a feeling of safety, adherence and concordance.

Methods:

Questionnaires were constructed using validated scales for adherence and concordance. Further, semi-structured interviews were carried out with a subset of patients to explore their experiences in more depth. Questionnaires were analyzed using IBM SPSS Statistics 19, and interviews were analyzed using meaning condensation.

Results:

Patients reported improved knowledge, feelings of safety and a good start in taking the new medication due to the pharmacy service. The majority of patients reported being adherent, but a potential risk of non-adherence was identified in nearly 50% of patients. Only slight improvements in perceived concordance were reported. The positive outcome of the service was mainly due to the first interview. Some patients had concerns about their new situation, which they thought more important to resolve than issues of potential non-adherence.

Conclusions:

Patients were satisfied with the pharmacy service and reported that staff helped them get a good start with the new medication. Challenges were observed regarding the follow-up interview. Some patients will also benefit from services more oriented toward resolving their specific medical concerns.

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