Medicine-related services in community pharmacy: public preferences for pharmacy attributes and promotional methods and comparison with pharmacists' perceptions
Received 17 May 2016
Accepted for publication 18 August 2016
Published 7 November 2016 Volume 2016:10 Pages 2297—2307
Checked for plagiarism Yes
Review by Single-blind
Peer reviewers approved by Dr Lucy Goodman
Peer reviewer comments 5
Editor who approved publication: Dr Johnny Chen
Shivaun M Gammie, Ruth M Rodgers, Ruey Leng Loo, Sarah A Corlett, Janet Krska
Medway School of Pharmacy, The Universities of Greenwich and Kent, Chatham Maritime, Kent, UK
Background: Public awareness of pharmacy services designed to support the use of medicines is low, yet little is known about how the public view promotion of these services, or their preferences for the attributes of pharmacies from which they would like to receive them.
Objective: To compare the public’s preferred attributes of pharmacies and methods for promoting medicine-related services with community pharmacists’ perceptions of their customers’ views.
Methods: Parallel surveys were conducted in South East England, using a street survey for the general public and a postal survey for community pharmacists.
Results: Response rates were as follows: public 47.2% (1,000/2,012) and pharmacists 40.8% (341/836). Pharmacists’ perceptions of customer preferences for using the same pharmacy, independent ownership, and personal knowledge of the pharmacist were higher than actual public preferences. More pharmacists than public respondents also believed that approachability and previous good service would be important. The public’s desires for long opening hours and for a pharmacy with a good relationship with their doctor’s surgery were higher than pharmacists believed. The majority of the public prefer not to interrupt a pharmacist who is busy in the dispensary, which was not perceived by pharmacists as a factor. Pharmacists’ perceptions aligned more with the preferences of regular medicine users and frequent pharmacy users. Both groups viewed direct recommendation as the most effective approach for promoting pharmacy services, particularly by doctors and pharmacy staff. Pharmacists’ expectations of the effectiveness of posters and mass media methods were much higher than those of the public.
Conclusion: Pharmacists and pharmacy owners must ensure good relationships with local medical practices to enable them to maximize opportunities for using the promotional methods judged most effective in encouraging the use of medicine-related services. Staff must be approachable and enable access to pharmacists, ensuring that perceptions of pharmacist busyness are not a deterrent.
Keywords: community pharmacy, public preferences, pharmacist views, promotion of services, pharmacy attributes, medicine-related services
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