Effectiveness of Various Methods of Teaching Proper Inhaler Technique: The Importance of Pharmacist Counseling

This article delves into the role of a pharmacist in patient inhaler education.  There were four different interventions that were compared in this study. The purpose of the study was to determine the efficacy of direct patient education vs. video or print education.

  1. Patient reads a metered dose inhaler (MDI) package insert pamphlet.
  2. Patient watches a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) video demonstrating MDI technique.
  3. Patient watches a YouTube video demonstrating MDI technique
  4. Pharmacist gives patient direct instruction of MDI technique (2 minutes long)

This study had a patient population of 72 and each was screened for demographic information, including literacy. All patients used inhalers. These patients were randomized to one of the four interventions and then evaluated by their ability to demonstrate proper inhaler technique using a placebo MDI. The effectiveness of each intervention was measured by the patient’s ability to complete each step of proper inhaler technique, and no partial credit was given. The result of the study showed that only 29.2% of the patients were able to do this correctly. There was also a statistically significant increase in correct inhaler technique in the group of patients given direct inhaler technique education.

This study showed that pharmacists can positively influence patent inhaler outcomes (in comparison to other methods) by giving direct patient education. This is important for the advancement of our profession because it shows that we can provide care outside of simply dispensing medications. Studies like this may provide a framework for allowing pharmacists to provide other services.

What other services do you see pharmacists being able to provide in the future?

View the article here:

Axtell S, Haines S, Fairclough J. Effectiveness of Various Methods of Teaching Proper Inhaler Technique: The Importance of Pharmacist Counseling. J Pharm Pract. 2016 Feb 23. pii: 0897190016628961.

Don’t assume the patient understands: Qualitative analysis of the challenges low health literate patients face in the pharmacy

Low health literacy populations are common occurrences. These populations have difficulties understanding basic health information and making appropriate health decisions. As future pharmacists, we have the responsibility to ensure that patients have a basic understanding of their medications as well as the risks and benefits of their regimen. A study was conducted to understand what the major challenges these low health literacy populations faced.

A one-on-one semi-structured interview study was conducted on the low health literate population. Each interview began with a verbal health literacy assessment, followed by open-ended questions focused on medication information. At the end of each interview, a written health literacy assessment was given which was later used to compare self-assessed health literacy scores. The population had an average age of 67 years old and 90% had been educated outside of North America. Low health literacy were found in 75% of these patients based on the S-TOFHLA. A flow chart was created to describe low health literate population’s pharmacy experience. Major challenges faced by this population was also recorded.

The major challenges faced by this population included, limited time with pharmacists, poor understanding of medication information, adherence, side effects, and food instructions/interactions. This study is important because it outlines the focus points for patient discussion. All of these points could be put to use when counseling low health literate patients or regular patients. What other challenges do you think exist within these low health literate populations?

Wall H., B SC., M SC., Don’t assume the patient understands: Qualitative analysis of the challenges low health literate patients face in the pharmacy. Res Social Adm Pharm. 2016