Building the evidence for the impact of pharmacists in general practice: a mixed methods study

Oral presentation by final year PhD researcher, Georgios Dimitrios Karampatakis, at the PhD Pharmacy Conference, April 2019, Henley Business School, University of Reading.

Georgios Dimitrios Karampatakis
Professor Kath Ryan1, Dr Nilesh Patel1 and Dr Graham Stretch2
1Reading School of Pharmacy, University of Reading, Reading, RG6 6UB. UK
2Ealing GP Federation, 179C Bilton Road, Perivale, Greenford, Middlesex, UB6 7HQ. UK

Background: Since 2015, there has been an initiative to integrate pharmacists into UK general practices as a new healthcare service for patients. The goal is to have one general practice-based pharmacist per 30,000 patients by 2020/21. Despite the existence of some generic national measures (key performance indicators – KPIs), little is known about the service’s impact on patients and the healthcare system.

Objective: To identify strengths and limitations of the service (i.e. what works well and what does not, areas for improvement etc.) from the perspective of those involved.

Methods: The project uses a mixed methods design. Focus groups were conducted with general practice-based pharmacists to identify problems with measuring their impact. An e-Delphi study was then undertaken to identify the activities that general practice-based pharmacists thought should be recorded. In-depth interviews with community pharmacists and patients were carried out to elicit their experiences of the service (patient interviews are yet to be completed). All qualitative data was analysed thematically and quantitative data from the e-Delphi study was reported as descriptive statistics. Analysis and reporting are still ongoing.

Results: The national KPIs were deemed not to be fit for purpose in identifying pharmacists’ impact. Broad consensus was reached on a number of activities (disease specific and general medication reviews, medicines reconciliations and high-risk drug monitoring) viewed as the most important tasks to record for identifying general practice based pharmacists’ impact. Community pharmacists reported enhanced communication between themselves and their surrounding general practices as a result of pharmacists’ presence in general practice. Preliminary findings from patient interviews suggest that patients appreciate the opportunity for thorough discussions with pharmacists and, additionally, emphasize the importance of advertising the pharmacist’s role in this setting.

Conclusions: Results will inform general practices and national policy on how to shape the service to best meet the needs and expectations of healthcare providers and patients.