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Community Pharmacists’ Knowledge, Practices and Attitudes towards the Medication Use Review in Qatar

Author(s) Ahmed Babiker1, Louise Carson2, Ahmed Awaisu3.
Affiliation(s) 1Pharmacy & Drug Control Department, Supreme Council of Health, Doha, Qatar, 2School of Pharmacy, Queen's University Belfast, Belfast, United Kingdom, 3College of Pharmacy, Qatar University, Doha, Qatar.
Country - ies of focus Qatar
Relevant to the conference tracks Advocacy and Communication
Summary Medication use review (MUR) is a service provision with accredited pharmacists undertaking structured adherence-centered reviews with patients on multiple medications, particularly those receiving medications for long-term conditions. The overall goal of MUR is to maximize an individual patient’s benefit from their medication regimen and prevent drug-related problems. MUR service is not yet established in community pharmacies in Qatar and nothing is known about pharmacists' knowledge, attitude, and practice pertaining to this service.
Background In Qatar, most patients currently receive their medications from the 8 public hospitals under Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC). In spite of being secondary and tertiary hospitals, most patients prefer to obtain their care including outpatient pharmacy services from these hospitals. Owing to this preference and attitude, there is unwarranted overcrowding in most hospitals and their outpatient pharmacies within HMC. One of the goals of Qatar’s National Health Strategies 2011-2016 is to improve the health services to international standards. Under this premise, Qatar envisions to provide world-class health care standard services and the best healthcare in the Middle East region (NHS 2011-2016). Within this goal, there is a community pharmacy strategy project aiming to adopt and implement international community pharmacy services and best practices as benchmark. Medication use review (MUR,) is one of these services. MUR service is not yet established in community pharmacies in Qatar and nothing is known about pharmacists' knowledge, attitude, and practice pertaining to this service. To our knowledge, the current study is the first one carried out to investigate the potential impact of implementing MUR services.
Objectives The overall aim of this research was to evaluate the perception of community pharmacists towards establishing MUR service as an extended role in patient care. The specific objectives of the study are to: 1) Assess the availability of facilities to support MUR implementation in community pharmacies in Qatar; 2) Evaluate pharmacist's self-perceived competence in providing MUR service; 3) Assess the knowledge of community pharmacists on MUR; 4) Assess the practices of the community pharmacists pertaining to MUR.
Methodology A cross-sectional study using self-administered questionnaires as a research tool was conducted among community pharmacists in Qatar from December 2012 to January 2013. The survey evaluated the pharmacists' self-perceived competence and attitudes towards providing MUR services in Qatar. The study involved pharmacists practicing in the private community pharmacy setting. There are approximately a total of 500 community pharmacists practicing in Qatar. In order to achieve a confidence level of 95% and 5% margin of error, a random sample of 220 community pharmacists currently practicing as community pharmacists in different cities and different pharmacies, including chains and independent pharmacies, in Qatar were selected to participate in the study. Inclusion criteria for potential respondents was: 1) being licensed as a practicing pharmacist in Qatar; 2) Currently working as a community pharmacist and; 3) working in a community pharmacy in Qatar for at least 12 months. The research instrument was developed via review of the literature pertaining to MUR, consultation with experienced researchers, experts, and licensed community pharmacists involved in the service. The data collected were analyzed using IBM Statistical Package for Social Science (IBM SPSS® Statistics) version 20 for analysis. Both descriptive and inferential statistics were used for data analysis. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board of the Supreme Council of Health, Qatar.
Results One hundred and twenty-three community pharmacists responded to the survey, but 116 were included in the analysis (useable rate 94%; 116/123). The mean total knowledge score was 71.4% ± 14.7%. Although, nearly all of the participants (97%) were able to identify the scope of MUR in relation to chronic illnesses and in enhancing the quality use of medicines, only 43.4% knew that acute conditions are not the principal focus of MUR services. Over 80% of the community pharmacists were able to identify patients of priority for inclusion in an MUR program. At least 95% of the participants acknowledged that provision of MUR services is a great opportunity for the extended role of community pharmacists and that MUR makes excellent use of the pharmacist's professional skills in the community. Participants generally reported concerns about time, dedicated consultation areas, and support staff being significant barriers towards MUR. A large proportion of the participants (95%) indicated that training and education should be conducted for community pharmacists before implementing MUR program.
Conclusion The current findings suggest that community pharmacists in Qatar had sufficient knowledge about the concept of MUR and its scope, but there were still important areas of deficiencies and misconception of the practice that warrant education and training. The findings have important implications for policy and practice, particularly pertaining to the implementation of MUR services as an extended role of pharmacists and as part of Qatar's National Health Strategy 2011-2016 agenda to move primary health care forward in Qatar.