Quality Interactions With Pharmacists Key to Patient Satisfaction

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Patients who have positive interactions with their pharmacists are more satisfied and committed to their pharmacy.

Patients who have positive interactions with their pharmacists are more satisfied and committed to their pharmacy.

Pharmacist expertise and quality interactions are key markers for determining patient satisfaction and commitment, according to the results of a study published in the September 2012 edition of Patient Preference and Adherence.

The study aimed to determine patient perceptions of pharmacist care in Alberta, Canada, and was carried out in 4 pharmacies in major cities and 1 pharmacy in a rural area. Pharmacists participating in the study distributed patient satisfaction surveys to 100 consecutive adult pharmacy customers. Participants were provided with a prepaid response envelope and sent their survey responses directly to the research center, the study authors noted.

The researchers measured 3 outcomes of relationship quality: medication self-efficacy, patient satisfaction, and commitment to the pharmacy or pharmacist. The questionnaires gauged participants’ impression of the pharmacist’s level of knowledge, their sense of trust in the pharmacist, their satisfaction with the pharmacist, the likelihood that the patient would seek to interact with the pharmacist, and the degree to which the pharmacy met the patient’s expectations, goal, or preferences.

Participating pharmacists distributed a total of 500 surveys to patients, and 112 were returned. Of the responses, 81% of participants reported using the same pharmacy for longer than 1 year. Most participants expected to wait 6 to 15 minutes to have a single prescription filled and reported expecting to be able to speak to the pharmacist for 1 to 10 minutes, if needed.

The study’s results showed a positive correlation between quality of participant-pharmacist relationship and participant-perceived pharmacist expertise (0.78; p < 0.001). A patient’s perception of pharmacist expertise also had a positive effect on their satisfaction and their sense of their relationship with the pharmacist.

The researchers note that their findings suggest that a patient's sense of their pharmacist’s knowledge level is a prime factor in determining whether they will continue to use the pharmacy, although a level of trust and patient satisfaction must also be cultivated.

“Patient-perceived pharmacist expertise is an important determinant of patient satisfaction and relationship commitment with the pharmacist,” the authors write. “Increased quality of the patient-pharmacist relationship and pharmacist expertise together were associated with enhanced patient satisfaction and relationship commitment, which may ultimately lead to better patient medication outcomes.”

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