Testing evidence routine practice: Using an implementation framework to embed a clinically proven asthma service in Australian community pharmacy

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Abstract

Introduction:

Community pharmacists are well placed and evidence clearly demonstrates that they can be suitably trained to deliver professional services that improve the management of asthma patients in clinical, economic and humanistic terms. However the gap between this evidence and practice reality remains wide. In this study we measure the implementation process as well as the service benefits of an asthma service model.

Methods:

Using an effectiveness-implementation hybrid design, a defined implementation process (progression from Exploration through Preparation and Testing to Operation stages) supporting an asthma service (promoting asthma control and inhaler technique) was tested in 17 community pharmacies across metropolitan Sydney.

Results:

Seven pharmacies reached the Operation stage of implementation. Eight pharmacies reached the Testing stage of implementation and two pharmacies did not progress beyond the Preparation stage of implementation. A total of 128 patients were enrolled in the asthma service with 110 patients remaining enrolled at the close of the study. Asthma control showed a positive trend throughout the service with the overall proportion of patients with ‘poor’ asthma control at baseline decreasing from 72% to 57% at study close. There was a statistically significant increase in the proportion of patients with correct inhaler technique from 12% at Baseline (Visit 1) to 33% at Visit 2 and 57% at study close.

Conclusion:

Implementation of the asthma service varied across pharmacies. Different strategies specific to practice sites at different stages of the implementation model may result in greater uptake of professional services. The asthma service led to improved patient outcomes overall with a positive trend in asthma control and significant change in inhaler technique.

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